Citation
The influence of self-schema in cognitive processing toward persuasion

Material Information

Title:
The influence of self-schema in cognitive processing toward persuasion
Creator:
Bowden, Randall G
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
ix, 103 leaves : illustrations, forms ; 29 cm

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Schemas (Psychology) ( lcsh )
Persuasion (Psychology) ( lcsh )
Persuasion (Psychology) ( fast )
Schemas (Psychology) ( fast )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 78-79).
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Arts, Department of Communication.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Randall G. Bowden.

Record Information

Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
23609892 ( OCLC )
ocm23609892
Classification:
LD1190.L48 1990m .B68 ( lcc )

Full Text
THE INFLUENCE OF SELF-SCHEMA IN COGNITIVE PROCESSING TOWARD
PERSUASION
by
Randall G. Bowden
BA, Colorado Christian College, 1987
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado In partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Department of Communication
1990


This Thesis for the Master of Arts Degree by
Randall G. Bowden
has been approved for the
Brent UJilson
Date
*V'


iii
Bowden, Randall G. (M.A., Communication)
The Influence of Self-Schema in Cognitive Processing Toward Persuasion
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Jon A. Winterton
The objective of this investigation is to determine the presence of and study
the potential influence of an issue-unrelated self-schema toward persuasion on
topic specific statements. This investigation suggests that a person's self-
schema produce thoughts unrelated to a topic and that the unrelated thoughts
influence how a person views the topic.
The sample for the study consists of eighty-three students from the
University of Colorado and Colorado Christian University in Denver. Colorado,
Subjects characterized themselves as reflecting either a legal-minded or
religious-minded schema by the selection of trait adjectives.
The data for the study were collected through a multi-page questionnaire
Topic sentences about in vitro fertilization reflecting legal and religious
perspectives were developed. The sentences were presented to the subjects.
After they read each sentence, they wrote the first thought which came to
mind. The thoughts may or may not have been related to the topic sentences.
Also, they rated their thoughts as positive, negative, or neutral.
Results suggested that when exposed to schema-relevant sentences, subjects
produced fewer unrelated thoughts than related thought. Subjects tended to rate
the unrelated thoughts more positively than negatively or neutrally.
Hypotheses testing the relationships between self-schemas and unrelated


IV
thoughts generally failed. The study does suggests that the presence of self-
schemas produces cognitive responses which are subjectively rather than
objectively rational. The influence of the unrelated thoughts to the schema-
unrelated sentences was not measured. Therefore, it is unknown from the study
if the unrelated thoughts influence a perspective on a togy
The form and content of tjfts ?l>sl
publication.
Signed


V
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER PAGE
I. INTRODUCTION.........................................................1
A Cognitive Shift Toward Persuasion............................... 1
A Cognitive Approach To Persuasion.................................2
A Cognitive Process................................................3
A Cognitive Structure..............................................5
A Cognitive Model Toward Persuasion................................8
A Schema ModeL................................................... 10
General Problem...................................................13
Specific Problem..................................................14
II. A REVIEW OF LITERATURE ON ISSUES CENTRAL
TO COGNITION AND PERSUASION...........................................15
Self-schema and Message Processing................................16
A Cognitive System of Subjective
Rational Processing.............................................. 21
Elaboration Routes to Persuasion................................. 24
Attitude Selectivity..............................................27
Personality-Trait Word Selection..................................32
Hypotheses of Self-Schema in Information
Processing........................................................35
Overview..........................................................35
Direction of Present Study........................................36
Hypotheses.
.36


vi
Nun Hypotheses.................................................37
m. METHODOLOGY........................................................39
The Importance of the Studying Self-Schemas
Influence on Information Processing............................39
Selection of Research Population...............................40
Methodology....................................................41
Entrance into the Field........................................41
Sampling.......................................................49
Instrument Construction........................................50
Testing Schedule...............................................51
Coding.........................................................51
IV. RESULTS...........................................................59
Statistical Method.............................................59
Hypothesis One.............................................. 59
Hypothesis T\vo................................................64
Summaiy...................................................... 65
V. DISCUSSION........................................................66
Dimension of Assimilation.................................... 68
Assimilation and Study Hypotheses............................ 69
Current Studys Relation to Communication Theory...............72
limitations to the Research....................................74
Study Impact and Suggestions.................................. 75
BIBLIOGRAPHY..............................................................78
APPENDIX..................................................................80
APPENDIX 1.........................................................80
APPENDIX 2.........................................................84


vii
APPENDIX 3................................................88
APPENDIX 4................................................89
APPENDIX 5................................................93
APPENDIX 6................................................96
APPENDIX 7................................................98


viil
FIGURES
1.1 Information Processing Model........................................ 3
1.2 Elaboration Likelihood Model..........................................7
1.3 Cognitive Persuasion Model........................................... 9
1.4 Schema Representation............................................... 10
1.5 Elaboration Network................................................. 11
2.1 Elaboration Likelihood Model, Self-Schema
Influence......................................................... 31


ix
CHARTS
3.1 Retigious/Legal Comparisons..................................... 48
3.2 Adjective Endorsement Means......................................55
3.3 Religious Self-Schema of Unrelated Thoughts.....................57
3.4 Legal Self-Schema of Unrelated Thoughts.........................57
3.5 Aschemas of Unrelated Thoughts ................................58
4.1 Self-Schema and Thoughts Most Listed
from Legal Statements.........................................61
4.2 Self-Schema and Thoughts Most Listed
from Religious Statements.....................................61
4.3 Self and Aschema and Thoughts Most Listed
from Legal Statements.........................................62
4.4 Self and Aschema and Thoughts Most Listed
from Religious Statements.....................................63
4.5 Self and Aschema and Thoughts Most Listed
from Legal Statements.........................................63
4.6 Self and Aschema and Thoughts Most Listed
from Religious Statements
64


CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
A Cognitive Shift Toward Persuasion
Interest In communication has spanned centuries. From Graeco-Roman times
through the present, persuasion has been examined under such rubrics as rhetoric,
philosophy, psychology, and mass media. It has been scrutinized, criticized,
abandoned, utilized, and revised. Rhetoricians would like to possess its spell-
binding power to influence mankind toward acts of greatness. Psychologists
examine communication non-verbally, individually, and socially as a means to
peek into the soul of mankind. The mass media seem to exploit it to sell more cars,
candy, coke, and a myriad of other money making products. Communication is
worthy of study because of its presence in the life of every person.
Communication is part of peoples lives. People may have information
structured in their memory which leads them to think about communicative issues
differently. This study will examine the thoughts of people when they are presented
with statements about one topic. There will be three central questions addressed: 1)
When receivers read statements about one topic, are thoughts unrelated to the topic
elicited and what conditions stimulate this process? 2) If receivers have thoughts
that are unrelated to statements on one topic, do the thoughts have positive or
negative personal value? 3) If receiviers have positive or negative thoughts that are


2
unrelated to statements about one topic, do the unrelated thoughts positively or
negatively influence how receivers view topic statements?
A Cognitive Approach to Persuasion
In lifes activities persuasion naturally carries biased concerns. People define
life situations with a certain amount of bias that reveals what they believe and how
strongly they believe it. The cliche that there are two sides to every story indicates
biased story-telling. Many times the actual events of a matter will not be heard by
an objective listener. The listener cannot distinguish the truth of the divergent
messages. People relay different facts of the same event.
Persuasion can be viewed from a cognitive standpoint in a communicative
context. A cognitive analysis of communication asks these questions: 1) What
cognitive processes are involved in a communicative context? 2) What cognitive
structures represent the processes? 3) How are those processes and structures used to
communicate? It is the purpose of this study to identify a possible cognitive process
of communication. The process will be referred to as a sequential leap. Before
investigating the issue of a sequential leap, a general foundation will be laid in the
remainder of this chapter from which the study will begin to evolve. Chapter Two
will proceed to define the study in greater depth by a review of literature. Chapter
Three will present the method of study. Chapter Four will reveal the results. Chapter
Five will discuss the study.


3
A Cognitive Process
The first element toward building a general foundation of a cognitive approach
of persuasion is to identify a model representing how people receive, transform, and
respond to information. The information in Figure 1.1 from the work of Ellen D.
Gagne is an adapted processing model.1
Figure 1.1 Information Processing Model.
The model is a theoretical framework of information processing. It represents
how people perceive, transform, and respond to information. The receptors
represent rods and cones, middle ear, and proprioceptor cells. They receive signals
from the environment in the form of physical energy. Physical energy can take
1 Ellen D. Gagne. The Cognitive Psychology of School Learning. (Boston:
Little, Brown and Company, 1985), p. 9.


4
the form of light for print, sound for speech, and pressure for touch. In turn, the
receptors send signals to the brain in the form of electrochemical impulses. The
first transformation of information has taken place at that point. From there, the
sensory register, located in the central nervous system, distributes the information
to short-term memory orworking memory. Working memory is characterized by
its limited capacity. The sensory register is selective of the information it sends to
working memory. What is not sent to working memory is lost.
In working memory a person encodes or integrates new or incoming
information with existing information. It then becomes part of long-term
memory. As the system continues to receive information from the environment,
working memory and long-term memory can interact with incoming information.
The interaction can reorganize or restructure the knowledge base of a person. The
knowledge base is sometimes referred to as a schema. The term, schema, will be
explained later in this chapter.
The interaction between incoming information and existing knowledge stored
in long-term memory is the basis of the response generator. The response generator
may process information mechanistically activating the effectors to hang a
picture on a wall or to arrange the furniture a particular way. The effectors are the
muscular systems used in activity, speech, gestures, eye movement, etc.
Information also can be processed automatically. For example, responses are
often organized beyond the threshold of consciousness, especially commonly
performed actions. An example is a person able to type correctly eighty words a
minute without having to focus on the keyboard. Automatic responses go directly
from long-term memory to the response generator.
Information processing is governed by executive control and expectancies.


5
Those are regarded as the metacognitive functions of information processing.
Executive control prioritizes information and responses. Expectancies filter
information according to relevance for reaching goals and the strategies needed to
reach those goals.2 Executive control and expectancies oversee information
processing much like a general manager oversees the operation of a business.
A Cognitive Structure
The second element toward building a general foundation of a cognitive process
of persuasion is to present a model of_ information processing resulting in
persuasion. See Figure 1.2.3
The elaboration likelihood model is a theoretical representation of the
cognitive persuasion process. The term elaboration refers to a persons ability to
relate and evaluate new issue-relevant information by connecting it with
information already stored in long-term memory. In the model a person receiving
persuasive communication processes a message in a variety of stages. First, is the
receiver motivated to process? It means that a person is trying to seek the truth of a
matter wherever it might lead.4 Based on the previous question, the receiver faces
the possibility that there may be significant consequences in his or her own life or
that there may be social responsibilities involved. If the answer is yes, then does
2 Gagne, The Cognitive Psychology of School Learning, p.p. 9-12.
3 Richard Petty and John Cacioppos Elaboration Likelihood Model of
Persuasion. Richard Petty and John Cacioppo, Communication and Persuasion.
(New York: Springer-Verlag, 1986), p. 4.
4 Petty and Cacioppo, Communication and Persuasion, p.19.


6
the receiver have the ability to process? It means that a person has the requisite
knowledge to impartially consider statements presented in a communicative
context. 5 This is to ask if the person understands the persuasion context, or has
topic-relevant (issue-relevant) knowledge in long-term memory, or maintains a
certain attitude prior to the persuasive communication, or any combination. If the
answer is no for both motivated to process? and ability to process?stages, then
there still may be peripheral cues present to start the cycle over or to retain or to
regain an initial attitude, or present a peripheral attitude shift. A peripherial cue is
a stimulus in the persuasion context affecting attitudes without necessarily
processing the arguments of a message. For example, source credibility could
influence a persons decision to accept an argument. Students of a university would
be more likely to accept a proposed increase in tuition if the student body president
stated that the money would be used for campus improvements, than if the same
arguments were presented by a local legislator.
5 Petty and Cacioppo, Communication and Persuasion, p.19.


7
Persuasive Communication
[Motivated To Process?
no
Peripheral Attitude SKiftj
Nature Of Cognitive Processing:
favorable thoughts predominate unfavoiahle thoughts predominate neither or neutral predominate
Cognitive Structure Change
_4_n
yes

no
Central
J Positive'
Attitude!
LChange |
yes
[Central ^
[Negative I
! Attitude I
[Change_ J
yes
Ability To Process? no
n1/ves A. 1 JL.
I
Retain or
Regain
Initial
Attitude
Figure 1.2. Elaboration Likelihood Model of Persuasion reprinted from Petty and
Cacioppo, Communication and Persuasion.
If ability to process is present, then a receiver processes information in one of
three ways: favorably, unfavorably, or neutrally. A neutral process encounters the
same route as answering no to the motivated to process? and to the ability to
process? stages. A favorable thought and negative thought can result in a cognitive
structure change resulting in a positive attitude change or a negative attitude
change, respectively. But in the process of a cognitive structure change, if the
information is deemed neutral or incongruent by metacognition, then the
information is sent back through the cycle for a peripheral attitude shift, a
retainment of an initial attitude, or a reexamination. For instance, the students
6 The section explaining the elaboration likelihood model of persuasion is
derived from Richard Petty and John Cacioppo in Communication and
Persuasion.


8
of a university where the student body president has argued for raising tuition, are
motivated to process because raised tuition has significance in the lives of students
paying tuition. Those students have the ability to process because the issue of higher
tuition is relevant to those students paying tuition. As those students affected by a
tuition increase cognitively interact with the statements of the proposal, they may
be in favor of an increase. They may be opposed to an increase. Or, they may be
neutral and need to think about statements for a while, thus delaying a positive or
negative attitude toward the issue of a tuition increase.
A Cognitive Model Toward Persuasion
The third element toward building a general foundation of a cognitive process of
persuasion is to identify a place within the general information processing model
where the persuasive process might occur. It occurs in the cognitive structure change
of the relevant existing knowledge base as new information moves back and forth
between working memory and long-term memory. See Figure 1.3.
As new Information is being processed, the thoughts generated in a persons
mind can be favorable, unfavorable, or neutral. New information is combined with
what the person already knows. The knowledge base in long-term memory is
restructured to accommodate the new information. Favorable thoughts could
expand the existing knowledge base by the addition of new information. Negative
thoughts toward new information could reinforce the information in the existing
knowledge base. Neutral thoughts could leave the existing knowledge base intact.


9
Figure 1.3. Cognitive Persuasion Model.
Information is sometimes sent to the response generator to form physical
responses. Favorable thoughts could result in an immediate response for a person to
sign a petition. Negative thoughts could result in an immediate response for a
person to lash out verbally. Neutral thoughts could result in an immediate response
for a person to attend to personal interests. The key to persuasion is not necessarily
an immediate response, but rather the new encoding in long-term memory. For
example, a student may have formed an initial opinion that any increase in
educational costs is nothing but administrators needing to cover the costs of poor
financial management. Yet, after hearing the proposal by the student body
president, the student comes to agree with the increase in tuition. Therefore, that
student changes his or her cognitive structure to accommodate the new information
presented in the proposal.


10
A Schema Model
A knowledge base in which a cognitive structure change can occur is referred to
as a schema. A schema is simply a way to represent knowledge. People organize
knowledge in clusters. Clusters of knowledge contain links that relate a partial
cluster of information to another cluster of information. See Figure 1.4 for a
representation of this idea.
Figure 1.4. Schema Representation.
In one schema a chair represents a piece of furniture. It involves concrete
concepts of legs, a seat, and a back, etc. The schema also contains more abstract
ideas of a persons favorite, soft, relaxing chair, etc. Yet in another schema, chair
relates to totally different concepts. They can be positions in an organization such
as a board, committee, or department, etc. The concepts also are related to less


tangible concepts. The chair of a committee may conjure feelings of like or dislike
toward the person in the position, as well as mental images of male or female, etc.
A speaker may delineate the benefits of a chair (as a piece of furniture) and why a
person ought to purchase it. When a person is faced with persuasive statements, it is
conceivable that the receiver could shift schemas from the furniture cluster to the
committee chair whom the receiver really likes. The receivers positive thoughts
could then be related to the message of a salesperson attempting to sell a chair that
happens to be like the one the committee chair owns.
The idea can be represented in a different way in Figure 1.57 by the sentence,
You should like chocolate pies made with cream."
Figure 1. 5. Elaboration Network.
7 Figure 1.5 is an adaptation of Ellen Gagnes propositional network
diagram. The Cognitive Psychology of School Learning. Boston: Little, Brown and
Company, 1985. See p. 76.


12
New Information activates the elaboration network. You should like chocolate
pies made with cream, may activate, Cream is good in coffee, and/or a type of
whipping cream, and/or, I received a whipping with a willow branch," and/or,
branch manager, and/or. My wife is a branch manager." Figure 1.5 identifies
in a simple manner how a person could jump from the term cream to the term
branch, manager. A person may dislike chocolate pies made with cream. But it is
possible tliat the information structure surrounding the term manager could be so
favorable that it influences an attitude change. It may lead a person to eat a piece of
pie previously thought of as undesirable.
People do not necessarily structure information or make decisions in an
objectively rational manner. In a persuasive context, a piece of pie that person #1 is
urging person #2 to try, seemingly has no rational connection with person #2s
conception of a wife as a branch manager. Yet the processes takes place. The process
of conversion will be termed a sequential leap. The key question is, do these jumps
in association result in attitude change, and how? Dale Hample writes, We can
observe input and output but can only speculate as to the process which convert one
into the other. 8 a sequential leap occurs when a person makes a cognitive shift
from one schema to another which is triggered by a relevant issue in a
communicative context.
8 Dale Hample, Logic, Conscious, and Unconscious, The Western
. Journal of Speech Communication 50 (1986): 31.


13
General Problem
The Issue Is how a person structures and accesses his or her knowledge. A person
structures and accesses information for recollection or restructure in a
communicative context. The recollection or restructure has positive, negative, or
neutral value. For example, concepts such as letter, stamp, mailman, delivered,
address, and postage could be stored as independent bits of knowledge. The
connection of those concepts could take a number of forms: The mailman delivered
the letter to the wrong address; or, the letter wasnt delivered because of lack of
postage; or, the stamp on the letter assured it will be delivered. A person, when
hearing or reading the last statement, may focus on the term stamp. The way a
person has structured knowledge of the term stamp may cause a shift to a thought
about stamp collecting. Thoughts centered on stamp collecting may result in
accessing information in long-term memory of a persons father taking the time to
teach him or her aspects of stamp collecting. Because those thoughts are favorable, a
person may restructure existing knowledge to accommodate new information about
stamps, postage, mail, letters, delivery, rate increases, etc.
When people shift from topic related thoughts to thoughts that are unrelated to
the a topic but elicited by the topic, the process will be called a sequential leap.
It is possible for a part of one knowledge structure, self-schema, to undergo a
structure change. It may be a subjectively rational shift but, nevertheless, it occurs.
9 Robert J. Marzano et al., Thinking Processes, Dimensions In
Thinking: A Framework for Curriculum And Instruction. (Alexandria: The
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1988.), p.p. 32-67.


14
Due to the way an Individual has stored and structured information, a person may
access a particular bit of information that is unrelated to new information, yet
triggered by it. At that moment in the mind of the receiver, the shift from the new
information to the processing of different information in the receiver is a
subjectively rational connection. If the receiver was asked to identify the
connection, at the point of the shift, in the presence of other receivers of the same
message, the other people could perceive that there is no objectively rational
connectedness. The response of other receivers may very well be, How in the world
did you come up with that?
Specific Problem
There is literature now available which presents models and views on how the
cognitive process may work when information is accessed in a persuasive context.
Much of the focus in the studies rely on the results of related thoughts which are
present when test subjects are faced with topic specific statements. But there is little
research that examines unrelated thoughts. The general questions for this study
are: 1) Do unrelated thoughts come to mind? and, 2) what influence, if any, does
seemingly unrelated thoughts have on a persons views when a person is presented
with topic specific statements? The specific questions are: 1) When receivers read
statements about one topic, are unrelated thoughts to the topic elicited and what
conditions stimulate this process? 2) If receivers have thoughts that are unrelated to
statements on one topic, do the thoughts have positive, negative, or neutral personal
value? 3) If receivers have positive or negative thoughts that are unrelated to'
statements about one topic, do the unrelated thoughts positively or negatively
influence how receivers view topic statements?


CHAPTER II
A REVIEW OF LITERATURE ON ISSUES CENTRAL TO COGNITION AND
PERSUASION
The review of literature is drawn from scholarly journals and books relevant to
issues of cognition and persuasion pertaining to the current study. The purpose of
the review is to familiarize the reader with the issues relevant to the sequential leap
and its cognitive effects. The central questions guiding this study are: 1) When
receivers read statements about one topic, are unrelated thoughts to the topic
elicited? If so, what conditions stimulate this process? 2) If receivers have thoughts
that are unrelated to statements on one topic, do the thoughts have positive,
negative, or neutral personal value? 3) If receivers have positive or negative
thoughts that are unrelated to statements about one topic, do the unrelated thoughts
positively or negatively influence how receivers view topic statements?
As a point of clarification, the article discussed below by Dale Hample uses the
term argument to mean a strong statement used to support a persons positive or
negative attitude toward a topic. In the articles by John Cacioppo. Richard Petty,
and Joseph Sidera, the term argument means a strong or weak statement used to
support a persons positive, negative, or neutral attitude toward a topic. This study
uses the term statement in lieu of argument when appropriate.


16
Self-Schema and Message Processing
The current study is an extension of a research study conducted by Cacioppo,
Petty, and Sidera. They tested idiosyncratic responses among sixty-three
psychology students to persuasive communication. The communication reflected a
religious or legal perspective. Cacioppo, Petty, and Sidera utilized Andersons 555
personality-trait adjective list to place their research population into two
categories, legal and religious. The categorization was done approximately two
weeks before the actual test. Later, the participants were isolated from each other in
a testing laboratory. Cacioppo, Petty, and Sidera presented persuasive messages to
the participants by having them listen to two taped speeches. The speeches reflected
a religious or legal orientation on abortion and capital punishment topics.
The participants were told that they were participating in a university study
designed to provide information for a proposed seminar. Actually, the test was
designed to measure idiosyncratic responses by participants listing thoughts to the
religious and legal speeches. The participants listed thoughts in a test booklet.
The test booklet asked questions for ancillary purposes. The experimental
design was a 2 (self-schema) x 2 (message perspective) x 2 (topic) factorial. A panel of
judges, who were uninformed to the research hypothesis, rated the participants'
responses positively, negatively, or neutrally. A recognition test was given after the
thought listing portion was completed. They found that students responded that a
relevant self-schema yields access to a greater store of topic-relevant information
in memory. This suggests that the greater number of topic-specific thoughts
generated when exposed to schema-reflective, in contrast to schema-unreflective,


17
arguments is due to the influence of the activated self-schema on message
elaboration rather than on message attention and comprehension. 10
Cacioppo, Petty, and Sidera in an article, The Effects of a Salient Self Schema
on the Evaluation of Proattitudinal Editorials: Top-Down Versus Bottom-Up
Message Processing (1982), suggest that in a persuasive context cognitive responses
can be subjectively rational versus objectively rational. When a person receives
communication, that person is not limited only to processing the presented
information. At the disposal of the receiver are vast quantities of internal
information in a knowledge base. A knowledge base in which a cognitive structure
change can occur is referred to as a schema. A schema is simply a way to represent
knowledge in long-term memory. External information serves as a cue for a person
to access information in long-term memory. The type of information accessed may
be objectively rational or idiosyncratic, depending on the match with the persons
schema.
One method of processing information in a persuasive context is by accessing
various cognitive schemas by which a person ascribes meaning to statements based
on Idiosyncratic data. The idiosyncratic data, also referred to as self, are a level of
cognitive schemas that guide information processing. *1
Idiosyncratic data are another way of referring to self-schemas. When new
information is received, that information may activate a self-schema in order to
10 John Cacioppo et al., The Effects of a Salient Self-Schema on the
Evaluation of Proattitudinal Editorials: Top-Down Versus Bottom-Up Message
Processing, Journal of Experimental Psychology, 18 (1982): 334.
11 Cacioppo, Petty, and Sidera, "The Effects of a Salient Self-Schema on the
Evaluation of Proattitudinal Editorials: Top-Down Versus Bottom-Up Message
Processing: 325.


18
process the Information toward rendering a decision. However, it always may not be
known what triggers a self-schema toward decision making.
A receiver cognitively acknowledges a senders message constructs by accessing
one or more self-schemata. Access of a self-schema can be based on a receivers
evaluation of issue-relevant statements contained in a message. What is considered
an issue-relevant statement may vary from receiver to receiver. The data presented
by Cacioppo, Petty, and Sidera on self-schema message processing bias is based on
research indicating that people favor persuasive messages based on persuasive
arguments relevant to their self-schema. Cacioppo, Petty, and Sidera used sixty-
three psychology students who were identified as maintaining a particular general
mindset, either religious or legal. They were exposed to persuasive statements in a
taped speech, 2 (self-schema) x 2 (message perspective) x 2 (topic). Some subjects
from the religious-minded group heard speeches containing religious arguments:
other religious-minded subjects heard speeches containing legal arguments. The
same was true for legal-minded subjects. The results showed that religious subjects
judged religious arguments to be more persuasive and legal arguments to be less
persuasive. The legal subjects Judged legal arguments to be more persuasive and
religious arguments to be less persuasive. The research indicated that a relevant
self-schema yields access to a greater store of topic-relevant information in
memory. This suggests that the greater number of topic-specific thoughts generated
when exposed to schema-reflective, in contrast to schema-unreflective, arguments
is due to the influence of the activated self-


19
schema on message elaboration rather than on message attention and
comprehension.12 Cacioppo, Petty, and Sidera maintain:
Self-schema . may serve as a subjective theory that biases the
assimilation of the message arguments in such a manner that the schema is
maintained or strengthened. Thus, when a persuasive message is written to
reflect a perspective on an issue congruent with, rather than irrelevant to,
the recipient's self-schema, the activation of the self-schema may guide a
filling-in, or a strengthening, of the arguments presented, thereby leading
to the perception of the message being more persuasive. ^
Relevance of Cacioppo, Petty, and Sideras study to the current study.
A receiver cognitively acknowledges a senders message constructs by accessing
one or more self-schemas. Access of a self-schema can be based on a receivers
evaluation of issue-relevant statements contained in a message. When a receiver
accesses a self-schema, that person may report thoughts related or unrelated to
topic-relevant information. Connecting issue-relevant information with self-
schema information may be subjectively rational. The process of shifting from
topic-relevant information to idiosyncratic self-schema information is called a
sequential leap, and is based on subjective rationality. Self-schema information
may guide a filling-in, or a strengthening, of the statements presented. Therefore,
idiosyncratic data may influence a persons perception of a topic.
Cacioppo, Petty, and Sidera show results in which test subjects reflect that a
topic relevant self-schema produces a greater number of topic relevant thoughts
12 Cacioppo, Petty, and Sidera, The Effects of a Salient Self-Schema on the
Evaluation of Proattitudinal Editorials: Top-Down Versus Bottom-UP Message
Processing: 334.
13 Ibid. p. 328.


20
than those who do not have a topic relevant self-schema. The current study is
interested in the persuasiveness of topic irrelevant thoughts to a topic.
Subjects will list unrelated thoughts. The thoughts will be viewed as
idiosyncratic data. The data will be evaluated as positive, negative, or neutral by
subjects.
Replication and variance of Caidoppo, Petty, and Sideras study
to the current study.
The current study will utilize Andersons 555 personality-trait adjective list to
place the research subjects into two general categories, legal and religious.
Cacioppo, Petty, and Sidera used electronic timing devices to help them categorize
the subjects into the groups. The current study will not use timed responses. Subjects
will categorize themselves by selecting the adjectives.
The Cacciopo, Petty, and Sidera subjects were told that they were participating
in a university study designed to provide information for a proposed seminar. The
subjects in the current study will be told that they will be participating in a human
thought research project. They will not be told what type of project.
The Cacioppo, Petty, and Sidera study presented relevant and ancillary material
at two-week intervals in a laboratory setting. Their subjects listened to religiously
and legally oriented speeches. The current study will present all material at one
sitting in an open classroom atmosphere. The subjects will take part in the study
during their regular class time. Similar to the Cacioppo, Petty, and Sidera study,
subjects of the current test will read religiously and legally oriented statements. The
current test is designed to measure thought responses by having subjects list them


21
when they read religious and legal statements.
Cacloppo, Petty, and Sidera used abortion and capital punishment as their
topics. The current study will use in vitro fertilization. No ancillary questions will
be presented to the subjects. The current test is designed to measure if the subjects'
idiosyncratic thoughts are positive, negative, or neutral.
Cacioppo, Petty, and Sidera were interested in issue-related thought responses.
No positive, negative, or neutral evaluations were needed. The current study is
interested in issue-unrelated thoughts. The subjects, who will be uninformed to the
research hypotheses, will rate their own responses, positively, negatively, or
neutrally. A recognition test will be given after the thought listing portion. It will
completed by subjects to ensure that they had read the statements they were to
respond to.
A Cognitive System of Subjective Rational Processing
The article that first prompted research interest of subjective rationality in
cognition and persuasion was by Dale Hample, A Cognitive View of Argument
(1980). New information can be received and encoded to relate to existing
information. It may have a subjective rational connection to arguments set forth by
a source; the relation may be rational to the person, but may not seem so to others.
A decision can be based more on stimulated information previously stored In long-
term memory than on new information being received. A decision made that way
often depends on the near-automatic activation of a self-schema rather than a
deliberate decision made based on message comprehension. A self-schema is the
way a person has ordered personally meaningful knowledge In long-term memory.


22
A self-schema can Include Idiosyncratic knowledge, that is, personally constructed
knowledge that is not shared with another group. When a person activates a self-
schema, received statements are elaborated and embellished with idiosyncratic
information stored in long-term memory. Thus interaction with self-schema may
bias a persons evaluative responses in a communicative context.
Hample refers to the process of receiving an argument from a source as passive.
A receiver accepts or rejects the arguments created. When a receiver supplies
arguments, it is active. Cognitive processing can elicit arguments from memory at
least partially independent of verbal or non-verbal messages. It means that a
receiver should be regarded as a perceiver. A person perceives the meaning of a
message by formulating his or her own arguments. Some of the self-arguments are
then assimilated into self-schemas, which become beliefs. New information
interacts with information stored in a person to create new beliefs, reinforce old
beliefs, reprioritize beliefs, change the combinations of beliefs, or create new belief
relationships. Beliefs current in memory may interact with new information to
interpret it according to ones beliefs.
The cognitive system orders beliefs to yield a coherent view of lifes events.14
The cognitive perspective attempts to examine what personal cognitive biases a
person brings to mind in a communication context. Also, the cognitive perspective
attempts to examine what influences, positive or negative, personal cognitive biases
have on a persons views of a topic. By bringing biased and personal information to
mind people try to make sense of what they perceive. The information is accessed
through a persons cognitive structure.
14 Dale Hample, A Cognitive View of Argument, Journal of the American
Forensic Association 16 (1980): 153.


23
Relevance of Hamples article to the present study.
Approaching the communicative act from a cognitive view is a research
perspective difference. Instead of examining elements surrounding communication
of the sender, the cognitive perspective focuses on self-schemas of receivers.
Changing the term receiver to the term perceiver is not necessary for the
purpose of the current study. Receiver is a well established term in Speech
Communication. However, the use of the term should not connote a passive
transmission of information: all incoming information is filtered by a person's
existing knowledge: all new knowledge is mediated by an active construction of
meaning.
Hample refers to a persons reception of statements as passive. But, it must be
somewhat active if it stimulates the cognitive process in a receiver. Source
Information may activate self-information in a self-schema. A self-schema
includes idiosyncratic knowledge. Through the process of elaboration, the
activation of a self-schema may embellish received statements with idiosyncratic
information stored in long-term memory. It may bias a persons evaluative
responses in a communicative context. The process of shifting from source
information to subjectively rational self-schema information is here termed a
sequential leap. The current study will record subjects' self-schema by asking
them to list their thoughts when they read topic statements. Unrelated thoughts will
be viewed that the response was triggered by the topic statement. Unrelated thoughts
will be viewed as idiosyncratic information stored in long-term memory.


24
Elaboration Routes to Persuasion
The book. Communication and Persuastonl 1986), centering around the
Elaboration Likelihood Model{ELM) was developed over a ten-year period by
Richard Petty and John Cacloppo. The ELM represents a general theory of attitude
change. Petty and Cacloppo conclude that there are two relatively distinct routes to
persuasion. The first route is called the central route; the second route is called the
peripheral route. The ELM is the result of their research.
The central route toward persuasion occurs when a person carefully and
thoughtfully considers the argument or arguments of information presented in a
persuasive context. The central route may rely on the received relevance of the
message, and on the person's prior knowledge of issue-relevant information in the
message being presented. When a person attends to externally generated issue-
relevant arguments (central route) in a persuasive context and attempts to access
relevant information from a self-schema, that person is said to be involved in high
elaboration likelihood. The person is elaborating on issue arguments with issue-
relevant information in a self-schema. Issue-relevant elaboration typically will
have biased outcomes of new arguments or personal translations. Both will be
integrated into the self-schema.
Attitude change as a result of elaboration does not always reveal if it is the result
of objective or subjective cognitive processing. The extent of elaboration ranges on a
continuum from no thought of issue-relevant information, to complete elaboration
of the arguments presented, to complete integration of the arguments


25
Into a self-schema.15
An attitude held may not necessarily change immediately nor completely in a
persuasive context. The ELM framework suggests that because people hold attitudes
in different degrees and for many different reason; people also differ in what they
consider to be the central merits of a position. When 105 students were tested by
Cacioppo and Petty on message recollection, only the arguments presented in a
message which were repeated three times were consistently recalled. Those
arguments which were presented only once were recalled fewer times. The results
"supports the view that moderate repetition affects attitudes by enhancing message
elaboration1 leaving differing responses to minimal repetition up to individual
choice.
The second route toward persuasion in a persuasive context is termed the
peripheral route, and may occur as a result of a simple cue. A simple cue may be a
receivers perception of issue-relevant information based on prior attitudes,
expertise of the source, number of arguments, etc. From the peripheral route
perspective, attitudes are considered to be determined mostly by positive or negative
cues that either become directly associated with the message or permit a simple
inference as to the validity of the message by the receiver.17 Under the peripheral
route, a peripheral schema unrelated to the issue-schema of the receiver may be
invoked in order to evaluate the cue.
According to Cacioppo and Petty, attitude change or attitude retainment, as a
result of the peripheral route, tends to be less enduring than attitude change or
15 Petty and Cacioppo, Communication and Persuasion, p.p.3-8.
16 Petty and Cacioppo, Communication and Persuasion, p.71.
17 Petty and Cacioppo, Communication and Persuasion, p.p. 3-11.


26
retalnment stemming from the central route. There are several reasons why this is
so. Peripheral route attitude changes or retainments are induced without scrutiny of
the central merits of issue-relevant information in a persuasive context. Inferences
and associations are made based on simple peripheral cues, whereas attitude and
self-schema alterations by the central route are induced by careful scrutiny of the
central merits of issue-relevant information in a persuasive context. New
arguments and self-schema alterations are formed by accessing prior knowledge in
long-term memory.
The central and peripheral routes were tested. The central route leads to the
recalling, rehearsing, evaluating, strengthening, and altering of a prior issue-
relevant schema. Thus, the central route renders a self-schema more internally
consistent, accessible, resistant to counterarguments, and enduring.1 Sixty
students from an introductory psychology class participated in a 2 (warning or no
warning) x 2 (instructed to write topic thoughts or actual thoughts) study by
Cacioppo and Petty. Thirty students were forewarned of the position to be advocated
in the message. The other thirty students were not forwamed. The results showed
that the forewarned students generated significantly more counterarguments than
the unwarned subjects, and unwarned subjects generated significantly more
neutral/irrelevant thoughts than the warned subjects.1 The results suggest that
unwarned subjects were responding more to the peripheral route for their responses.
18 Petty and Cacioppo, Communication and Persuasion, p.p. 21-22.
19 Petty and ^Cacioppo, Communication and Persuasion, p. 125.


27
Relevance of Cacioppo, and Pettys studies to the current study.
The Irrelevant thoughts are what the present study refers to as sequential leaps.
A sequential leap occurs when people shift from issue-relevant thoughts to thoughts
that are unrelated to a topic, but elicited by the topic. Some thought responses might
be issue-reflective indicating the central route. Some thought responses might be
self-schema reflective indicating the peripheral route. Subjects will not be
forewarned of the topic or the nature of the statements that they will respond to. The
more a persons self-schema is unrelated to a topic, the more likely a sequential
leap response to a topic will take place.
Peripheral route attitude changes or retainments are induced without scrutiny
of the central merits of issue-relevant information. The attitude relies on the self-
schema impression which is subjective. Unrelated thoughts of the self-schema
should reflect an attitude consistent with the schema and not the topic.
Attitude Selectivity
The book. Attitudes and Decisions (1988), by J. Richard Eiser and Joop van der
Pligt, examines attitude selectivity and decision making. They view attitude
selectivity from the perspective that attitudes are not merely individualistic
concepts within a persons head. Attitudes are the descriptions in evaluative terms
of the objects of a persons experience. Attitudes are likely to be expressed more
strongly if information reveals issues of personal concern from a persons self-
schema. The expression of attitudes are carried out in actions and interactions with
other people. They are subject to societal influences and contraints.


28
Decision-making is considered in a similar light. Decisions are often made
based on rules and strategies from life experiences rather than pure objective
rationale. Information relating to decision-making tends to be dealt with
differently if it reveals issues of personal concern in a person's self-schema. An
employer may decide to pay more money to a relative than to another employee who
is more experienced in the business. Both the relative and employee are of personal
concern to the employer. But the decision to pay one person more than the other
person may be induced by a self-schema of highly regarded relational ties instead of
economical concerns. Decisions, as well as attitudes, can be modified or revised as a
result of the consequences of prior decisions and attitudes held.2 Eiser and van
der Pligt examine issues relevant to both attitude selectivity and decision-making,
although attitude selectivity is the central focus of this particular literature review.
Attitudes can be regarded as more than a matter of opinion. A particular attitude
held in a matter may be difficult to change, until convincing arguments and
experiences are made causing a change of mind. The change of mind is simply a
restructuring of a self-schema to accommodate new information, therefore
changing ones perspective.
Research demonstrates that a self-schema is resistant to change on certain
Issues. Eiser and van der Pligt conducted a study on the development of a nuclear
waste reprocessing plant in a particular area. Research participants were asked to
rate a list of eleven possible consequences. The results of the study indicated that
individuals with opposing attitudes see different aspects of the issue as salient, and
20 J. Richard Eiser and Joop van der Pligt, Attitudes and Decisions.
(London: Routledge: 1988), p.p. ix-x.


29
hence, disagree not only over the likelihood of the various potential consequences
but also over their Importance.21 Those types of self-schema responses are the
preconceptions that a person maintains when processing Information.22 In other
words, those preconceptions tend to bias the Interpretation of new Information.
Therefore, it is difficult for a person to change his or her mind when asked to
consider arguments of a topic.
Because people express differences in perspective on a particular issue, Eiser and
van der Pligt state that interpretation of information is selectiuebased on research
provided by Sherif and Hovland, Sellitz, Edrich and Cook, Upshaw, and Zavalloni
and Cook. Selectivity is nothing more than attending to some information more
than other in a world inundated by information. Selectivity of some information
over other information is said to be biased, without necessarily implying a
negative connotation.23 However, the selection of a certain self-schema may
carry a positive or negative attitude. The positive or negative attitude may influence
how a person views the topic being presented.
The information that people select for processing carry issues relevant to self-
schemas. Those issues relevant to self-schemas have aspects which are salient to
people personally. As people interact with one another on issues, they may choose
the type of language to use which accurately describes their attitudes on the aspect of
the issue salient to them.
Eiser and van der Pligt state:
We do not only use language to tell others what we think, we use
language in order to persuade others to think the same way too. Propaganda,
21 Eiser and van der Pligt, Attitudes and Decisions, p. 160.
22 J. Richard Eiser, Social Psychology: Attitudes, Cognition, and Social
Behavior, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), p. 239.
23 Eiser and van der Pligt, Attitudes and Decisions, p. 2.


30

advertising and simple debate share the features of trying to increase
salience, to other people, of particular interpretations of events.24
In a communicative context there is a sender trying to increase saliency of
certain perspectives to other people. There are receivers who are selecting only
issues salient to them personally from the sender and their self-schemas. The issues
may be evaluated by the receiver resulting in a positive or negative attitude.
In context of the ELM.
Those salient issues relevant to a persons self-schema take the central route
and are targeted for recalling, rehearsing, evaluating, strengthening, and altering.
On the other hand, a person may select only that information to process in the
persons self-schema which takes the peripheral route and is targeted for a more
biased process. It also is possible within the ELM for salient issues to be processed
via the central route and the peripheral route. A person shifts from issue-relevant
information to self-schema information. Figure 2.1 represents where the shift may
occur in the ELM.
24 Eiser and van der Pligt, Attitudes and Decisions, p. 16.


31
Persuasive Communication
37
Motivated To Process?!^
no
"[Peripheral Attitude Shift]
Ability To Process?
no
Natuxe Of Cognitive Processing:
favorable thoughts predominate unfavorable thoughts pxedominate neither ox neutxal predominate
v/
yes
Peripheral Cue Present?
/Tv
Cognitive Structure Change
^ 4/
no
N/
Retain ox
Regain
Initial
Attitude
N/
_r_ ***
Centxal"] rCentxal ^
j Positive [Negative I
.Attitude!^I Attitude L
^Change I [Change_ _J

Shift from
issue-relevant schema to
self-schema
(Sequential Leap)
Figure 2.1.ELM, Self-Schema Influence.
Relevance of Eiser and van der Pligts book to the current study.
The activation of the information in a self-schema is brought to the conscious
level for considerations toward guiding, filling-in, strengthening, or restructuring a
self-schema. Attitudes contained in information are likely to be expressed more
strongly if information reveals issues of personal concern in a persons self-
schemas. Expression of attitudes may not be based on rules and strategies from life
experiences but rather be based on subjective rationale. When receivers have
positive thoughts that are unrelated to a topic, the unrelated thoughts will tend to
positively influence how receivers view the topic. Measuring the thinking process is
difficult. It should be noted when approaching empirical investigation of cognitive
processing that we can observe input and output but can only speculate as to the


32
process which convert one into the other.25 Cognitive processing outputs can be
measured by using a thought listing technique developed by Cacioppo and Petty, but
the conversion process is speculative.
Personality-Trait Word Selection
The current study will use Andersons list to identify general schematic groups
for the purpose of comparing the groups positive/negative and related/unrelated
cognitive responses to topic specific statements.
One of Norman H. Andersons areas of research involved information
integration of simple personality judgment tasks. Because of the growing empirical
interest in personality traits, Anderson developed a list of words. The article
Likableness Ratings of 555 Personality-Trait Words (1968) by Anderson was the
result of attempting to compile a list of personality-trait adjectives for empirical
use. Research participants in Anderson studies were asked to form impressions of a
person by selecting a set of personality-trait adjectives. Adjectives were tested for
likableness and meaningness. The 555 personality-trait adjectives he used for his
studies were carefully selected and rated from a large list.
Andersons first step of the selection process was to have a writer sift through
18,000 trait-names previously compiled by Allport and Odert (1936) to extract useful
words for empirical investigations. The writer selected approximately 3,500 words.
The second step was to screen the 3,500 words. The writer and an assistant
examined the words based on five criteria to narrow the list. The first criterion was
25 Hample, Logic, Conscious, and Unconscious, p. 31.


33
to eliminate extreme words such as ferocious and majestic. The second criterion
was to eliminate words denoting temporary states such as aghast and hurt Words
relating to physical characteristics such as emaciated and hairy was the third
criterion for elimination. The fourth criterion was to eliminate sex-linked words
such as beautiful and handsome. The final criterion was to eliminate words based
on impression-formation such as honey-tongued, anal, and fond.26 No
justification was given for selecting the five criteria. The process shaved the 3,500
word list to 2,200. "
The third step of the selection process was to weed-out words from the 2,200 list
because many of the words would have been unfamiliar to college students. The list
was given to twenty college students who were follow Instructions for rating. A word
was to be marked with an X unless it was particularly meaningful to them. The
unmarked words were then rated on a scale of zero to three according to their
appropriateness for describing college students.
The words that were marked with more than two Xs were eliminated first. Then
an arbitrary number of 555 was chosen as the amount of final words to use for
further likableness rating. The final 555 word list was then rated on a seven point
scale by 100 participants. A zero was defined as least favorable or desirable when
rating the words. A seven was defined as most favorable or desirable when rating
the words. The participants were to think of a person who could be described by that
word and rate it according to how much they liked that person.
The meanings for each word were rated by fifty participants. Twenty-five were
males and twenty-five were females. They were instructed to rate the words on a
26 Norman H. Anderson, "Likableness Ratings of 555 Personality-Trait
Words," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 9 (1968), 272.


34
four point scale. Zero was defined as I have almost no idea of the meaning of this
word. A four was defined as I have a very clear and definite understanding and
meaning of this word.
Anderson wrote that the list should be generally useful with college
populations. 7 But the list should be limited to identify a general group of college
students in an experimental context.
Three separate reliability tests were performed. J. D. Edwards of Ohio State
University found a correlation of .98 between his median ratings and Andersons.
C. F. Schmidt and M. E. Rosenbaum of the University of Iowa found a correlation of
.96 for males and .98 for females between their median ratings and Andersons.
From the University of California at San Diego data was obtained primarily to
assess within-subject rather than between subject variability.27 28 There resulted a
correlation of .992 between the UCSD median ratings and Andersons.
Relevance of Andersons study to the current study.
Pretest subjects will identify self-describing adjectives within a religious/legal
context. When test subjects choose a particular set of adjectives, they will be
categorizing themselves as maintaining a religious or legal self-schema. The
current study will use Andersons list to identify general schematic groups for the
purpose of comparing the groups positive/negative and related/unrelated cognitive
responses to topic specific statements.
27 Anderson, "Likableness Ratings of 555 Personality-Trait Words: 279.
28 Ibid. p.p. 272-279.


35
Hypotheses of Self-Schema in Information Processing
Overview
A source sends Information to a receiver in a persuasive context. The receiver
cognitively processes some statements from the information. The receiver also
intellects information from a self-schema. Information from the self-schema may
be objectively rational or subjectively rational. If a receiver perceives a persuasive
statement, it may result in thoughts that are objectively unrelated but subjectively
related.
The Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) provides a framework for cognitive
processing when persuasive statements are perceived. The altered ELM, figure 2.1,
provides a framework for subjective rational processing. A receiver may shift from
issue-relevant thoughts to issue-irrelevant thoughts of a topic. The shift is called a
sequential leap. If relevant thoughts stimulate the unrelated thoughts, they are
subjectively related to the topic.
These subjective attitudes may influence how a person perceives a topic. If a
person has a subjectively related thought stemming from a self-schema, the attitude
connected with the thought may be enduring. Until the self-schema is altered, a
subjective thought should govern the perception of a topic.
Research subjects will be tested for the presence Of subjectively related thoughts
and the attitudes connected with the thoughts. Subjects will be selected from two
universities. One university is primarily religious. The other university is
traditional. Religious and legal self-schema groups will be Identified from the
universities. The current study is not comparing universities. A religious self-


36
schema should be found at the traditional university. A legal self-schema could be
found at the religious university. Subjective thoughts consistent with a self-schema
should be reported. The subjective thoughts should influence the perspective that a
subject has on a topic.
Direction of the Present Study
The present study will provide data for the presence and the effect of self-
schemata on information processing, but it will not provide any indication of the
strength or weakness of this influence in persuasion generally.
Hypotheses
General Hypothesis One: When receivers read statements about one topic,
thoughts unrelated objectively to the topic will be elicited. These are termed
sequential leaps.
When people switch from issue related thoughts to thoughts that are unrelated to
a topic but elicited by the topic, the process is called a sequential leap. The unrelated
thoughts are part of a persons self-schema. People access self-schemata when they
read statements about one topic. The implication is that people do not consistently
think exclusively about Issues directly related to a topic.
Empirical Hypothesis One: The more a persons self-schema is related to a
topic, the less likely a sequential leap response to a message will take place. The less
a persons self-schema is related to a topic, the more likely a sequential leap
response to a message will take place.


37
General Hypothesis Two: Receivers thoughts which are unrelated to statements
on one topic, will elicit effective personal values. People structure information
according to priorities and relevance according to Gagnes information processing
model discussed in chapter one. Unrelated thoughts may be regarded as low in
priority and relevance when compared to a topic. But, unrelated thoughts by people
reading statements may be regarded as high in priority and relevance according to
their self-schemata. When people make sequential leaps to think thoughts
unrelated to a topic, their unrelated thoughts will be regarded as personally positive
or negative thoughts by them. The implication is that thoughts unrelated to a topic
but related to a persons self-schema possess value which is related to the topic.
People relate and evaluate new information to information already stored in long-
term memory according to Cacioppo and Pettys elaboration likelihood model
discussed in chapters one and two. The implication is that existing information
accessed in long-term memory may be unrelated to new information, but the new
information is evaluated positively or negatively by existing information.
Empirical Hypothesis Two: When receivers have positive thoughts which are
unrelated to statements about one topic, the unrelated thoughts will positively
influence how receivers view the topic statements. When receivers have negative
thoughts which are unrelated to statements about one topic, the unrelated thoughts
will negatively influence how receivers view the topic statements.
\
Null Hypotheses
Null Hypothesis One: The more a persons self-schema is not related to a topic,
the less likely a sequential leap response to a message will take place. The less a


38
persons self-schema is not related to a topic, the more likely a sequential leap
response to a message will take place.
Null Hypothesis Two: When receivers have positive thoughts which are
unrelated to statements about one topic, the unrelated thoughts will not positively
influence how receivers view the topic statements. "When receivers have negative
thoughts which Eire unrelated to statements about one topic, the unrelated thoughts
will not negatively Influence how receivers view the topic statements.


CHAPTER III
METHODOLOGY
The Importance of Studying Self-Schemas Influence on Information Processing
A person participating in a communicative context is faced with more
information to process than just the words of the sender alone. The simple
recognition of words is seldom the desired end for both sender and receiver. People
want to comprehend what they perceive. Certainly, lexical definitions and
syntactical relationships of words provide a framework for a receiver to get a sense
of meaning. But receivers rely on more than lexical definitions and syntactical
relationships for comprehension. Externally, receivers may require that the sender
identify context relevant issues to the topic whether the references are to social
concerns, physical circumstances, or general knowledge. Internally, receivers may
draw more from information already schematically stored in long-term memory
than from information being sent. In an instance when information stored in long-
term memory is accessed, it can activate a self-schema to bias the processing of
external information. There is a large body of literature Indicating cognitive
schemas bias of external information, typically in a manner that contributes to the
perseverance and preservation of a guiding schema.29 A person involved In 29
29 Cacioppo, Petty, and Sidera, The Effects of a Salient Self-Schema on the
Evaluation of Proattitudinal Editorials: Top-Down Versus Bottom-Up Message
Processing: 327.


40
communication faces external information as well as information stored
internally which is cognitively sifted. The importance of the study is focused
around what people do cognitively rather than what type of information is being
sent.
The present research seeks to confirm two hypotheses: 1) The more a persons
self-schema is related to a topic, the less likely a sequential leap response to a
message will take place. The less a person's self-schema is related to a topic, the
more likely a sequential leap response to a message will take place; 2) When
receivers have positive thoughts which are unrelated to statements about one topic,
the unrelated thoughts will positively influence how receivers view the topic
statements. When receivers have negative thoughts which are unrelated to
statements about one topic, the unrelated thoughts will negatively influence how
receivers view the topic statements.
Selection of Research Population
The current investigation is limited to a random selected group of eighty-three
college students. The sample was drawn from two universities located in the Denver
metropolitan area. One university is primarily of religious orientation. It will be
referred to as religious. The other university consists of seven colleges and schools.
It will be referred to as secular. The sample was selected in order to identify two
distinct groups of people, one with a religious self-schema and the other with a legal
self-schema.
It is important to note that this study is not comparing the two universities. It is
comparing two general self-schemas. Either self-schema can be found at either


41
university. However, it was hoped that a good range of these schemas would be found
in this sample.
The selection of universities was made to ensure that there would be an adequate
number of students who would be identified as either religious-minded or legal-
minded. It was assumed that more religious-minded people would be attending the
religious university and that more legal-minded people would be attending the
secular university. Students were selected as the population for the study because
they are generally the recipients of large amounts of new information for
processing. As recipients of this information, they are asked to cognitively interact
with it whether for classroom, personal, employment, and/or social purposes. The
classes that were most accessible at the time were two Management of Human
Resourcesclasses from the religious university and two Speech '
Communicationclasses from the secular.
Methodology
Entrance into the Field
Entrance into the field was accomplished through four phases. The first phase
was the selection of personality-trait adjectives. The adjectives represent a
religious-minded or legal-minded person. Test subjects would identify themselves
as a religious-minded or legal-minded person by choosing certain adjectives. This
would be done to identify a range of schemas, which is needed to test hypothesis one.
Hypothesis one states, the more a person's self-schema is related to a topic, the less
likely a sequential leap response to a message will take place. The less a persons
self-schema is related to a topic, the more likely a sequential leap response to a


42
message will take place.
Process. As explained in chapter two, Norman H. Anderson compiled a list of
555 personality-trait adjectives in which a subject forms an impression of a person
described by a set of personality-trait adjectives. The impression was then
measured by having subjects rate the likableness of a person they had In mind. The
adjectives also were rated on their meanfulness.^O
The top 329 personality-trait adjectives were selected from Andersons list for
the current study. Of those adjectives 116 had asterisks by them. The adjectives with
the asterisks indicate the words which were rated by Andersons study as possessing
especially high meaning. Those 116 adjectives were selected for use in the current
study. Seven more adjectives were selected that did not have an asterisk. Those
words appeared to be characteristic of a religious-minded person. The seven extra
words were added to the 116 bringing the total to 123.
The 123 personality-trait adjectives were entered into the Macintosh Excel
program and randomized. The words were then laser printed on a three page
Personality Trait Survey form. Beside each adjective was a scale consisting of the
numbers 0, 1,2, and 3, with 0=unrelated, l=somewhat related, 2=somewhat related,
and 3=highly related.
Fifty-two pretest subjects at the religious university were selected at random
during lunch break and after classes. They were asked if they would participate in a
personality-trait survey. The subjects were divided into two groups. Twenty-six were
given the survey form containing the following instructions:
Please indicate the degree to which each word describes the personality
traits of a legal-minded person. In the scale, 0=unrelated, l=somewhat
related, 2=somewhat related, and 3=highly related. Circle your answer. (See
Appendix 1). 30
30 Anderson, Likableness Ratings of 555 Personality-Trait Words": 272.


43
Another twenty-six subjects were given the survey form containing the
following instructions:
Please Indicate the degree to which each word describes the personality
traits of a religious-minded person. In the scale, 0=unrelated. l=somewhat
related, 2=somewhat related, and 3=highly related. Circle your answer. (See
Appendix 2).
The twenty-six survey forms asking for religious-minded adjective scores were
entered Into Excel. Each adjective had twenty-six scores: one for each subject. The
program was run to attain three results: 1) the average scores of each adjective; 2) the
average standard deviation of each adjective; 3) The order of the adjectives In
ascending order by highest average score combined with lowest average standard
deviation.
The other twenty-six survey forms asking for legal-minded adjective scores were
entered Into Excel. Each adjective had twenty-six scores: one for each subject. The
program was run to attain three results: 1) the average scores of each adjective; 2) the
average standard deviation of each adjective; 3) the order of the adjectives in
ascending order by highest average score combined with lowest average standard
deviation.
Results. From the religious-minded survey fifteen adjectives with the highest
average score combined with the lowest average standard deviation were selected to
represent a religious schema.
From the legal-minded survey fifteen adjectives with the highest average score
combined with the lowest average standard deviation were selected to represent a
legal schema.
There were six other personality-trait adjectives selected as control words; three


44
words received equally high ratings, three words received equally low ratings in
both surveys. These six adjectives had fifty-two scores: one from each subject. The
Excel program was run to attain three results: 1) the average scores of each
adjective: 2) the average standard deviation of each adjective: 3) the order of the
adjectives in ascending order by highest average score combined with lowest
average standard deviation. The control words served to indicate whether subjects
were reflecting on their personality as they took the survey. Thirty-six words were
the actual test adjectives.
Three other adjectives were arbitrarily selected by three members of this
authors family as practice words. Each person closed her eyes and pointed to a word
on either worksheet. This brought the total adjectives to thirty-nine.
The three arbitrarily selected adjectives were the first three words on the form to
be given to the test population. The other adjectives were randomized. Process and
results are presented under the Coding portion of this study.
The second phase was the selection of schema-related statements. Twenty
pretest subjects from a history class evaluated statements about in vitro
fertilization. They evaluated the statements by indicating whether each statement
was religious, legal, or neither.
Process. The topic of in vitro fertilization was selected for testing students
responses in conjunction with their schematic classification. In vitro fertilization
was chosen over the issues of abortion and capital punishment used in the
Cacioppo, Petty, and Sldera study. After discussion with a faculty member at the
religious university, it was concluded that abortion and capital punishment were
too emotional for attempting to measure cognitive processing. It was determined by
the faculty member at the religious university and this researcher that in vitro


45
fertilization would be controversial enough for students to cognitively Interact
with. Yet the topic would be non-emotional enough to get students to follow
instruction when responding.
Once the topic was decided sixteen statements regarding in vitro fertilization
were selected from various medical journals and ethics books. In some cases
statements were altered to reflect a more religious or legal bias.
The sixteen statements were then randomized and printed with the following
instructions:
The following two pages contain statements from articles regarding in
vitro fertilization. Below each statement is a question asking if you think
the statement is religious, legal, or neither. Please read each statement
carefully and circle the term that best describes the way in which you view
the statement. Answer every question and circle only one term, either
religious, legal, or neither. (See Appendix 4)
Twenty subjects were not told about the purpose of the experiment. They were
simply asked to evaluate the statements. The statements needed to be classified as
religious or legal in order to evaluate how religious-minded and legal-minded
participants respond to them.
Results. Of the sixteen statements two were selected to represent a religious
orientation and two were selected to a legal orientation.
Each of the sixteen statements had twenty responses. In one statement twenty
people circled the religious option. Another religious statement had seventeen
people circle the religious option and three circle the neither option. Both legal
statements had seventeen people circle the legal" option and three circle the
neither option.
Six other statements were selected as neutral statements. They reflected neither


46
a religious nor a legal orientation as determined by the pretest subjects. The three
options, religious, legal, and neither, were selected relatively evenly between the
twenty people for each of the six statements. The purpose of using the additional
statements in the test was to provide information about in vitro fertilization to
further aid cognitive responses in test participants.
1
The total of ten statements were then randomized for use In the study. Only the
statements numbered one, five, six, and nine concerned the study. Four statements
relate to the study. The other six were used to help elicit responses. The selection of
statements were to serve as the means for gathering specific thoughts from each
schematic group for comparisons.
The third phase was the selection of a thought-listing technique.
Process. Social psychological procedure for cognitive response assessment: the
thought-listing technique.31 The ten statements selected from the pretest were
laser printed on two pages with Instructions appearing at the top of the first page.
Under each of the ten statements a box was provided for subjects to respond to the
statements by listing and rating their thoughts. The box was approximately six-
and-one-half inches long and one inch tall. Each box was divided equally
horizontally with two other lines thus producing three areas to write in. Each area
had the word thought in the upper left hand comer of the box, (See Appendix 5).
The test population was instructed to read each statement and respond to it by
writing the first thought that came to mind:
This questionnaire surveys what comes to a persons mind when reading
different types of statements on one topic. You will be asked to read a
31 John Cacioppo and Richard Petty, Social Psychological Procedures for
Cognitive Response Assessment: The Thought-Listing Technique, in Cognitive
Assessment, eds. T.V. Merluzzi, C.R. Glass, and M. Genest (New York: Guilford
Press,1981), p.p. 309-342.


47
number of statements and to list your thoughts. Your thoughts may be
favorable, opposed, or unrelated to the statements. This is fine. The
questionnaire simply asks you to list what it is you are thinking as you read
each statement. For example, if you read the statement, The foes of
Operation Green Merchant argue that investigations of drug abuse are bogus
from the start," you may have thought of landscaping. You are not
necessarily being asked to agree or disagree with the statements. Just record
your first thought or thoughts. You should tiy to record only those thoughts
that you are thinking during the reading of each statement. Please state
your ideas as concisely as possiblea phrase may be sufficient. IGNORE
SPELLING, GRAMMAR, AND PUNCTUATION. Take as much time as needed.
Ample space is provided for recording your thoughts. Please be completely
honest and list all the thoughts you have.
In addition to recording your thoughts, you will be asked to evaluate
your thoughts. To do this, place a plus sign +" if your thought is positive,
place a minus sign if your thought is negative, and a 0 if your
thought is neutral. Remember to evaluate the thoughts you recorded, not the
statements you read.32 (See Appendix 5)
Results. There were twenty-eight religious subjects: twenty-one listed fifty-six
thoughts unrelated to religious and legal statements: seven listed thoughts related
only to the statements. Of the unrelated thoughts: thirty-two thoughts were listed in
response to the legal statements: twenty-four thoughts were in response to the
religious statements. Of the twenty-eight total religious self-schema subjects: fifty-
eight thoughts were listed relating to the religious statements: sixty-three thoughts
were listed relating to legal statements. See chart 3.1.
From the thirty-three legal subjects: nineteen listed fifty thoughts unrelated to
religious and legal statements: fourteen listed thoughts related only to the
statements. Of the unrelated thoughts: twenty thoughts were listed in response to the
legal statements: thirty thoughts were in response to the religious statements. Of the
32 Instructions were adapted from a sample of instructions provided by J.
Cacioppo and R. Petty in Cognitive Assessment, p. 318.


48
thirty-three total legal legal self-schema subjects: eighty-six thoughts were listed
relating to the legal statements: seventy thoughts were listed relating to religious
statements. See chart 3.1.
From the twenty aschematic subjects: eleven listed twenty-seven thoughts
unrelated to religious and legal statements: nine listed thoughts related only to the
statements. Of the unrelated thoughts: sixteen thoughts were in response to the legal
statements: eleven thoughts were in response to the religious statements. Of the
twenty total aschematic subjects: thirty-nine thoughts were listed relating to the
legal statements: thirty-eight thoughts were listed relating to religious statements.
See chart 3.1.
Chart 3.1 Religious/Legal comparisons
Religious Legal Religious Legal
unrelated unrelated related related
thoughts thoughts thoughts thoughts
21 Relig self-sch 24 32 28 Relig self-sch 58 63
19 Legal self-sch 30 20 33 Legal self-sch 70 86
11 Asch 1 1 1 6 20 Asch 38 39
The fourth, phase was to develop a recognition test.
Process. Recognition test. A statement recognition sheet was prepared in order
to help secure the integrity of the responses to the In vitro fertilization statements.
The ten statements that were used for the thought listing responses plus the six
statements not used were printed in random order on a separate sheet of paper and
numbered one to sixteen. The instructions at the top of the page were:


49
Please read all of the following statements. As you read them, only circle
the number to the left of the statements that you recognize as reading
before. Do not go back to a previous page to assist you in your selection. Take
as much time as you like. (See Appendix 6)
Results. Of the eighty-one completed forms 61.7% responded correctly to all ten
recognition statements by circling the number next to the statement that they
remember reading. In response to the four recognition statements, two legal and two
religious, relevant to the study 87.7% of the completed forms were correct. Only
2.4% of respondents missed more than one statement of the ten. No one missed
more than two. No one missed any of the four statements relevant to the statistical
analysis of the study. The recognition test was to Indicate if the subjects were
actually reading the In vitro statements which they were to respond to. Since
approximately 7/8 of the subjects responded correctly to the recognition test, this
Investigator decided that all subject responses were valid.
Sampling
From the secular university thirty-seven students from one sophomore and one
senior Speech Communication class participated in the study. From the religious
university forty-six students from two senior Management of Human Resources
classes participated in the study. The sampling was done by this investigator
choosing faculty members from both universities who were willing to have the test
packet distributed In their class. The reasons for selecting this sampling are: 1) to
ensure that there would be an adequate number of students who would be identified
as either religious-minded or legal-minded. It was assumed that more religious-


50
minded people would be attending the religious university and that more legal-
minded people would be attending the secular university. There were thirteen legal
and twenty religious subjects from the religious university. There were twenty legal
and eight religious subjects from the secular university. There were eight
aschematic subjects from the secular university. There were eleven aschematic
subjects from the religious university; 2) students were selected as the population for
the study because they are generally the recipients of large amounts of new
information for processing. As recipients of this information, they are asked to
cognitively interact with it whether for classroom, personal, employment, and/or
social purposes; 3) the classes that were most accessible at the time were two
Management of Human Resources classes from the religious university and two
Speech Communicattonclasses from the secular. Although, any classes from either
of the two universities could have been selected for the study.
Instrument Construction
The technique used to gather data was a test packet. Pretest material was
comprised of 123 religious/legal personality-trait adjectives and sixteen
religious/legal statements. The information gathered from the pretest was used in
the five page test packet, (Appendix 7).
The first page of the packet was the personality-trait survey asking subjects to
describe the way they view themselves. The second and third pages comprised the
thought-listing questionnaire of religious and legal statements. The instructions
asked subjects to record and rate their thoughts. The final page was a recognition
test. It asked subjects to indicate by circling the number next to the statement what


51
statements they recalled from the previous two pages. There were eighty-three
subjects In the study.
Testing Schedule
The application of the packet for the subjects to complete was done with the
permission of the faculty member In whose class the test was administered. The test
took approximately thirty minutes to complete.
The only information that subjects had about the experiment was that which
was provided In the Instructions preceding each section of the packet. No additional
Information about the experiment was given to the students before they participated
In the study. No direct reference was made to the study being one complete study. The
subjects were allowed to make any inference they wished as to the nature and the
cohesiveness of the study. The study was designed to promote as much self-
schematic thinking as possible for the purpose of comparing favorableness ratings
of religious and legal schematic groups to statements.
Coding
The method used for statistical measurement of the hypotheses is a 2 x 2, chi-
square (X2) analysis. The level of significance applied is .05. The degree of
freedom (df) is 1. At the .05 level of significance with a df of 1. the value of X2 is
3.84.


52
Once the results of are tabulated, Pearson's phi coeffecient (j) Is calculated.
The following guidelines are provided for interpreting magnitudes of
correlation:33
0: No Relationship
.01-.25: A Weak Relationship
Jt.26-.55: A Moderate Relationship
jt.56-.75: A Strong Relationship
jt.76-.99: A Very Strong Relationship
1: Perfect Relationship
The coding of answers could not be done in advance, for it was not known what
possible responses or combination of responses was would be given by respondents.
Responses were evaluated by the investigator and a second party not familiar with
the hypotheses: 1) responses were identified and categorized in relation to a
religious self-schema or a legal self-schema: 2) thoughts responses were identified
as related to a statement or unrelated to a statement. Responses were evaluated by
the participants: test participants coded their own responses to their thoughts by
positive +, negative or neutral 0 indicators.
The following process description relates to hypothesis one; the more a persons
self-schema is related to a topic, the less likely a sequential leap response to a
message will take place. The less a persons self-schema is related to a topic, the
more likely a sequential leap response to a message will take place.
Process. From the pretest the thirty-six carefully selected adjectives were
randomized in Excel. The three arbitrarily selected adjectives served as practice
words. They preceded the test words in order to stimulate each student to begin to
think about himself or herself. The practice words had no bearing on the study.
33 Mary John Smith. Contemporary Communication Reasearch Methods.
(Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1988), p.152.


53
All adjectives were numbered. Beside each adjective two sets of words appeared,
me, not-me. Written instructions were provided on the same sheet where the
thirty-nine adjectives appeared. The Instructions were:
This survey Is a study of personality traits. By participating, you make an
Important contribution to a research project designed to advance the
scholarly understanding of human thought. Your help is especially
appreciated because participation is essential to the completion of the
project. The following list contains 39 adjectives describing personality
traits. Beside each adjective the words me, not-me are listed. Please
circle the word next to the adjective that best describes the way you think
about yourself based oh your first Impression. If you take extra time to
consider a descriptive adjective, then circle not-me. Be careful to circle
either me, or not-me" by every word. Take care to circle only one option
for each adjective. (See Appendix 3)
By circling me or not-me the students would classifying themselves as either
religious-minded or legal-minded.Me responses that corresponded to the
predetermined fifteen religious adjectives were counted for each participant. Me
responses that corresponded to the predetermined fifteen legal adjectives were
counted for each participant. Each schematic adjective had only one value for a
total of fifteen points in each category. The me selections were tabulated separately
into religious and legal categories. The highest score was subtracted from the lowest
score to determine which category each student should be placed. If the higher of the
two scores was from the legal adjectives, then the religious score was subtracted and
vice versa. 34
34 The reason for additional instructions regarding the choice of a not-me
selection stems from Joseph Sidera's study. Sidera aided his schematic
classification of subjects by measuring milliseconds on a digital clock in
conjunction with me, not-me responses when subjects viewed individual
adjectives on a projection screen. His instructions appear on pages 16-18 of his
thesis.


54
Results. The subject population was categorized into three schematic groups
according to the personality-trait survey. The first two groups were labeled
religious-minded, and legal-minded. The third group was labeled aschematicdue
to non-high ranking scores for religious-minded or legal-minded adjectives.
There were twenty-eight subjects who endorsed more religious adjectives than
legal adjectives. There were thirty-three subjects who endorsed more legal than
religious adjectives. The remaining twenty subjects, who endorsed either the same
amount or a variant of one endorsement of the legal and religious adjectives, were
classified as aschematic. The number one was arbitrarily selected.
The number of responses to schematic adjectives (15 religious, 15 legal), for each
schematic group was analyzed according to the means of the raw scores. The
subjects classified as possessing a religious self-schema endorsed more religious
adjectives, M= 12.46, than legal adjectives, M= 10.04. The subjects classified as
possessing a legal self-schema endorsed more legal adjectives, M= 12.64, than
religious adjectives, M=11.75. Aschematlcs slightly endorsed more legal adjectives,
M=H-75, than religious adjectives, M=11.65. The following chart, 3.2, represents
the range of means of the raw scores.


55
Chart 3.2. Adjective Endorsement Means.
Religious Self-Schema
Legal Self-Schema *-------*
When compared to Sideras study3^, the results presented above, regarding the
religious groups mean, had a difference of 0.09 for religious adjectives (Sideras
group scored higher). The results had a difference of 1.94 for legal adjectives
(Sideras group scored lower). The results between religious adjectives and legal
adjectives in Sideras group was greater than In the present
study by 1.85.
The legal groups mean had a difference of 0.32 for legal adjectives (Sideras
group scored lower). The results a difference of 0.73 for legal adjectives (Sideras
group scored lower). The results between legal adjectives and religious adjectives in 35
35 Joseph Sideras thesis provides the results of his study. A portion of his
thesis, pages 14-24 and 36-41, was obtained from John Cacioppo who served on
Josephs committee. See p.19.


56
Sideras group was greater than In the present study by 0.41.
The aschematic groups mean had a difference of 0.05 for religious adjectives
(Sideras group scored lower). The results had a difference of 1.1 for legal adjectives
(Sideras group scored lower). The results between legal adjectives and religious
adjectives in Sideras group was greater than in the present study by 1.15.
Since the categorization results for religious, legal, and aschematic
classifications used in the present study support the results of Sideras study, it was
determined that the present groupings accurately represent the self-schema
endorsed by each person who participated in the study.
The following process description relates to hypothesis two; when receivers
have positive thoughts which are unrelated to statements about one topic, the
unrelated thoughts will positively influence how receivers view the topic
statements. When receivers have negative thoughts which are unrelated to
statements about one topic, the unrelated thoughts will negatively influence how
receivers view the topic statements.
Process. Part of the process for gathering data for hypothesis two is included in
the instructions for gathering data by the thought-listing technique. The section
contained in the instructions for rating thoughts is;
In addition to recording your thoughts, you will be asked to evaluate
your thoughts. To do this, place a plus sign +" if your thought is positive,
place a minus sign if your thought is negative, and a 0 if your
thought is neutral. Remember to evaluate the thoughts you recorded, not the
statements you read. (See Appendix 5)
Results. From the twenty-one religious self-schema subjects who listed twenty-
four unrelated thoughts to religious statements, fifteen thoughts were recorded as
positive, five as negative, and four as neutral. From the twenty-one subjects who


57
listed thirty-two unrelated thoughts to legal statements, fourteen thoughts were
recorded as positive, thirteen as negative, and five as neutral. See chart 3.3.
Chart 3.3. Religious Self-Schema of Unrelated Thoughts.
24 unrelated thoughts to 32 unrelated thoughts to
Religious statements Legal statements
21 Relig self-sch 1 5 5 4 1 4 1 3 5
responses pos neg neu pos neg neu
From the nineteen legal self-schema subjects who listed thirty unrelated
thoughts to religious statements, eighteen thoughts were recorded as positive, seven
as negative, and five as neutral. From the nineteen subjects who listed twenty
unrelated thoughts to legal statements, five thoughts were recorded as positive, eight
as negative, and seven as neutral. See chart 3.4.
Chart 3.4.Legal Self-Schema of Unrelated Thoughts
30 unrelated thoughts to 20 unrelated thoughts to
Religious statements Legal statements
19 Legal
self-sch 1 8 7 5 5 8 7
responses pos neg neu pos neg neu
From the eleven aschematic subjects who listed eleven unrelated thoughts to
religious statements, four thoughts were recorded as positive, four as negative, and
three as neutral. From the eleven subjects who listed sixteen unrelated thoughts to
legal statements, six thoughts were recorded as positive, six as negative, and four as
neutral. See chart 3.5.


58
Chart 3.5. Aschemas of Unrelated Thoughts.
11 unrelated thoughts to
Religious statements
16 unrelated thoughts to
Legal statements
11 Asch
responses
pos neg neu
pos neg neu
An oversight occurred during the testing of hypothesis two. It was wrongly
assumed that the positive, negative, or neutral recordings automatically Indicated
how the test subject thought about the test statement. The positive, negative, or
neutral recordings only signify how the subject views his or her thoughts.
Therefore, nothing was Included In the test material to collect statistical data for
hypothesis two.


CHAPTER IV
RESULTS
Statistical Method
This chapter will present the statistical findings for the study. The method used
for statistical measurement of the hypotheses is a 2 x 2, chi-square (X^) analysis.
The level of significance applied is .05. The degree of freedom [df is 1. At the .05
level of significance with a df of 1, the value of is 3.84.
Once the results of are tabulated, Pearsons phi {j)coefficient is calculated.
The following guidelines are provided for interpreting magnitudes of
correlation:3
0: No Relationship
.01-.25: A Weak Relationship
Jl.26-.55: A Moderate Relationship
+ .56-.75: A Strong Relationship
+ .76-.99: A Very Strong Relationship
1: Perfect Relationship
Hypothesis One
The more a persons self-schema is related to a topic, the less likely a sequential
leap response to a message will take place. The less a persons self-schema is related
36 Smith, Contemporary Communication Reasearch Methods, p.152.


60
to a topic, the more likely a sequential leap response to a message will take place.
The dependent variable is the topic.
Null hypothesis: The more a person's self-schema is not related to a topic, the
less likely a sequential leap response to a message will take place. The less a
persons self-schema is not related to a topic, the more likely a sequential leap
response to a message will take place. The chi-square is constructed six different
ways for analyzation.
1. Legal Statements: Legal self-schema and religious self-schema listed related
and unrelated thoughts.
2. Religious Statements: Religious self-schema and legal self-schema listed
related and unrelated thoughts.
3. Legal Statements: Legal self-schema and aschematic listed related and
unrelated thoughts.
4. Religious Statements: Religious self-schema and aschematic listed related
and unrelated thoughts.
5. Legal Statements: Religious self-schema and aschematic listed related and
unrelated thoughts.
6. Religious Statements: Legal self-schema and aschematic listed related and
unrelated thoughts.
Chart 4.1 represents the test relationship between the related and unrelated
responses of legal self-schema and religious self-schema groups when responding to
legal statements. The chi-square for this distribution of cell frequencies is 5.53. The
degree of freedom at the .050 level of significance is 3.84. The null hypothesis is
rejected: the hypothesis is accepted. Pearsons phi coeffecient is .17. It indicates a
weak relationship.


61
Chart 4.1
SELF-SCHEMA AND THOUGHTS MOST LISTED FROM LEGAL STATEMENTS
Legal Statements
Related thoughts listed Unrelated thoughts listed
Total
Legal self-schema 86 20 106
Religious self-schema ea 32
Total 149 52 N=201
Chi-square = 5.53 with a degree of freedom of 1. significance = 3.84.
Pearsons phi coeffecient = 5.53 (x2) over 201 (N) squared = .17.
Chart 4.2 represents the test relationship between the related and unrelated
responses of religious self-schema and legal self-schema groups when responding to
religious statements. The chi-square for this distribution of cell frequencies is .025.
The degree of freedom at the .050 level of significance is 3.84. The null hypothesis is
accepted: the hypothesis is rejected.
Chart 4.2
SELF-SCHEMA AND THOUGHTS MOST LISTED FROM RELIGIOUS
STATEMENTS
Religious Statements
Related thoughts listed Unrelated thoughts listed
Total
Religious self-schema 58 24 82
Legal self-schema 70 20 100
Total 149 52 N=182
Chi-square = .025 with a degree of freedom of 1, significance = 3.84.


62
Chart 4.3 represents the test relationship between the related and unrelated
responses of legal self-schema and aschema groups when responding to legal
statements. The chi-square for this distribution of cell frequencies is 2.56. The
degree of freedom at the .050 level of significance is 3.84. The null hypothesis is
accepted: the hypothesis is rejected.
Chart 4.3
SELF & ASCHEMA AND THOUGHTS MOST LISTED FROM LEGAL
STATEMENTS
Legal Statements
Related thoughts listed Unrelated thoughts listed
Total
Legal self-schema 86 20 106
Aschema 39 16 55
Total 125 36 N=161
Chi-square = 2.56 with a degree of freedom of 1, significance = 3.84.
Chart 4.4 represents the test relationship between the related and unrelated
responses of religious self-schema and aschema groups when responding to
religious statements. The chi-square for this distribution of cell frequencies is .67.
The degree of freedom at the .050 level of significance is 3.84. The null hypothesis is
accepted: the hypothesis is rejected.


63
Chart 4.4
SELF &ASCHEMA AND THOUGHTS MOST LISTED FROM RELIGIOUS
STATEMENTS
Religious Statements
Related thoughts listed Unrelated thoughts listed
Total
Religious self-schema 58 24 82
Aschema 22 li 42
Total 96 35 N=131
Chi-square = .67 with a degree of freedom of 1, significance = 3.84.
Chart 4.5 represents the test relationship between the related and unrelated
responses of religious self-schema and aschema groups when responding to legal
statements. The chi-square for this distribution of cell frequencies is .29. The degree
of freedom at the .050 level of significance is 3.84. The null hypothesis is accepted:
the hypothesis is rejected.
Chart 4.5
SELF & ASCHEMA AND THOUGHTS MOST LISTED FROM LEGAL
STATEMENTS
Legal Statements
Related thoughts listed Unrelated thoughts listed
Total
Religious self-schema 63 32 95
Aschema 22 IS SS
Total 102 48 N=150
Chi-square = .29 with a degree of freedom of 1, significance = 3.84
Chart 4.6 represents the test relationship between the related and unrelated


64
responses of legal self-schema and aschema groups when responding to religious
statements. The chi-square for this distribution of cell frequencies Is .95. The degree
of freedom at the .050 level of significance is 3.84. The null hypothesis is accepted:
the hypothesis is rejected.
Chart 4.6
SELF & ASCHEMA AND THOUGHTS MOST LISTED FROM RELIGIOUS
STATEMENTS
Religious Statements
Related thoughts listed Unrelated thoughts listed
Total
Legal self-schema 70 30 100
Aschema 38 11 49
Total 108 41 N=149
Chi-square = .95 with a degree of freedom of 1, significance =3.84.
Hypothesis Two
When receivers have positive thoughts which are unrelated to statements about
one topic, the unrelated thoughts will positively influence how receivers view the
topic statements. When receivers have negative thoughts which are unrelated to
statements about one topic, the unrelated thoughts will negatively influence how
receivers view the topic statements.
Null Hypothesis: When receivers have positive thoughts which are unrelated to
statements about one topic, the unrelated thoughts will not positively influence how
receivers view the topic statements. When receivers have negative thoughts which
are unrelated to statements about one topic, the unrelated thoughts will not


65
negatively influence how receivers view the topic statements.
An oversight occurred during the testing of hypothesis two. It was wrongly
assumed that the positive, negative, or neutral recordings automatically indicated
how the test participant thought about the test statement. The positive, negative, or
neutral recordings only signify how the participant views his or her thoughts.
Therefore, nothing was included in the test material to collect that data.
Summary
In general, the significant findings occurred between the related and unrelated
responses of legal self-schema and religious self-schema groups when responding to
legal statements. All other findings between other relationships failed. Hypothesis
two could not be tested due to a lack of data.


CHAPTER V
DISCUSSION
The predicted relationships in hypothesis one were partly confirmed.
Relationships found to be significant were those between legal self-schema and
religious self-schema subjects who listed related and unrelated thoughts when
responding to legal statements. Although significance was not found in the other
relationships, chi-square results tended to be stronger where the legal self-schema
subjects responded to legal and religious statements. These relationships suggest
that the legal self-schema subjects were more topic reflective when they listed their
thought responses to legal and religious statements. Religious self-schema subjects
were more self-schema reflective when listing their thought responses to legal
statements. Religious self-schema subjects were more topic reflective when listing
their thought responses to religious statements. Aschematic subjects were more
topic reflective when listing their thoughts to both legal and religious statements.
The bases of the results may be accounted for by the following:
[I]f somewhat. . easily understandable message arguments [statements]
are presented to a person, then a ceiling effect for message
comprehension might be obtained; however, evidence that these externally
provided messages have come into greater contact with organized
associative processes when a self-schema is activated than when it is not
might nevertheless be observable in the profile of idiosyncratic cognitive



67
responses the person generates when exposed to . communication
[statements],^7 (Italics added.)
Hypothesis one was that the more a persons self-schema Is related to a topic, the
less likely a sequential leap response to a message will take place. The less a
persons self-schema is related to a topic, the more likely a sequential leap response
to a message will take place.
Support for hypothesis one suggests three conclusions: 1) that topic specific
statements do elicit topic unrelated thoughts, 2) that topic unrelated thoughts are
self-schema related, 3) that. In boundaries of the current study, unrelated thoughts
are more prevalent In groups who respond to statements unrelated to their schemas.
The predicted relationships In hypothesis two could not be confirmed nor
denied. When subjects rated their thoughts as positive, negative, or neutral, it was
assumed that their ratings influenced their perception of the legal and religious
statements. Therefore, statistical analyses based on assumptions were not
performed. The result hoped for with hypothesis two was that a recipient's salient
self-schema can influence the cognitive responses to and evaluations of. .
communication [statements].3 (Italics added for emphasis.) 37 38
37 Cacioppo, Petty, and Sidera, The Effects of a Salient Self-Schema on the
Evaluation of Proattitudinal Editorials: Top-Down Versus Bottom-Up Message
Processing p. 325.
38 Ibid. p. 336.


68
Dimension of Assimilation
The Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) used in the present study, which was
developed by John Cacioppo and Richard Petty, provides a sound structure for
examining the cognitive process of communication. The application of the ELM
does not claim to, nor can it, cover all aspects of cognitive processing in a
communicative context. Since the application of the ELM is not comprehensive, the
present study attempted to examine one element of cognitive process inherent in the
ELM. That element of the cognitive process was termed a sequential leap. The term
was derived from the ELM. From the ELM Cacioppo and Petty concede that the
peripheral route can affect perspectives with much the same results as the central
route. The interaction and results between the two routes are summarized by
f
Cacioppo and Petty:
When people are relatively unmotivated [attention] or unable
[comprehension] to process issue-relevant arguments [statements], attitude
changes, may still occur if peripheral cues are present in the persuasion
[communication] context. In fact, the ELM postulates a tradeoff between
argument [statement] processing and the operation of peripheral cues: as
argument [statement] scrutiny [whether objective or biased] is reduced,
peripheral cues become relatively more important determinants of
persuasion [communication], but as argument [statement] scrutiny [whether
objective or biased] is increased, peripheral cues become relatively less
import ant.39
The affects of peripheral route and central route raised two Issues: 1) the
interaction of the central route and the peripheral route in activating a self-schema,
te. sequential leap: 2) the Influence of perspective on a topic from the
39
Petty and Cacioppo, Communication and Persuasion, p.141.


69
activation of a self-schema. Hypothesis one attempted to address issue #1.
Hypothesis two attempted to address issue #2.
Assimilation and Study Hypotheses
In hypothesis one, comparison one, the legal self-schema subject responses were
compared to religious self-schema subject responses on legal statements. The
religious self-schema subjects provided approximately 35% unrelated responses to
legal statements. The legal self-schema subjects provided less than 20% unrelated
responses to legal statements. It seems to indicate two things: 1) statement scrutiny
by the religious self-schema subjects reduced allowing peripheral cues to become
relatively more important determinants of their thoughts, and statement scrutiny
by legal self-schema subjects increased allowing peripheral cues to become
relatively less important determinants of their thoughts: 2) both self-schema
groups initially cognitively processed the legal topic statements through the central
route, but the religious self-schema subjects shifted to the peripheral route,
therefore accessing and listing more unrelated thoughts.
In hypothesis one, comparison two, the legal self-schema subject responses were
compared to religious self-schema subject responses on religious statements. The
religious self-schema subjects provided approximately 30% unrelated responses to
religious statements. The legal self-schema subjects provided 30% unrelated
responses to religious statements. It seems to indicate two things: 1) statement
scrutiny by the religious self-schema and statement scrutiny by legal self-schema
subjects increased, allowing peripheral cues to become relatively less important
determinants of their thoughts; 2) both self-schema groups cognitively processed


70
the religious topic statements through the central route, and fewer subjects shifted
to the peripheral route.
In hypothesis one, comparison three, the legal self-schema subject responses
were compared to aschema subject responses on legal statements. The legal self-
schema subjects provided less than 20% unrelated responses to legal statements.
The aschema subjects provided slightly more than 30% unrelated responses to legal
statements. It seems to indicate two things: 1) statement scrutiny by the aschema
subjects reduced, allowing peripheral cues to become relatively more important
determinants of their thoughts, and statement scrutiny by legal self-schema
subjects increased, allowing peripheral cues to become relatively less important
determinants of their thoughts: 2) both self-schema groups initially cognitively
processed the legal topic statements through the central route, but the aschema
subjects shifted to the peripheral route, therefore accessing and listing more
unrelated thoughts.
In hypothesis one, comparison four, the religious self-schema subject responses
were compared to aschema subject responses on religious statements. The religious
self-schema subjects provided approximately 30% unrelated responses to legal
statements. The aschema subjects provided slightly more than 22% unrelated
responses to legal statements. It seems to indicate two things: 1) statement scrutiny
by the aschema subjects and statement scrutiny by religious self-schema subjects
increased, allowing peripheral cues to become relatively less important
determinants of their thoughts; 2) both self-schema groups cognitively processed
the religious topic statements primarily through the central route.
In hypothesis one, comparison five, the religious self-schema subject responses
were compared to aschema subject responses on legal statements. The religious self-


71
schema subjects had approximately 33% unrelated responses to legal statements.
The aschema subjects provided approximately 30% unrelated responses to legal
statements. It seems to indicate two things: 1) statement scrutiny by the aschema
subjects and statement scrutiny by religious self-schema subjects increased,
allowing peripheral cues to become relatively less important determinants of their
thoughts: 2) both self-schema groups cognitively processed the legal topic
statements through the central route.
In hypothesis one, comparison six, the legal self-schema subject responses were
compared to aschema subject responses on religious statements. The legal self-
schema subjects provided 30% unrelated responses to religious statements. The
aschema subjects provided approximately 22% unrelated responses to religious
statements. It seems to indicate two things: 1) statement scrutiny by the aschema
subjects and statement scrutiny by legal self-schema subjects increased, allowing
peripheral cues to become relatively less important determinants of their thoughts:
2) both self-schema groups cognitively processed the religious topic statements
primarily through the central route.
Hypothesis two suggested that when receivers have positive thoughts which are
unrelated to statements about one topic, the unrelated thoughts will positively
influence how receivers view the topic statements. When receivers have negative
thoughts which are unrelated to statements about one topic, the unrelated thoughts
will negatively influence how receivers view the topic statements.
Hypothesis two was not tested due to the false assumption that subjects positive,
negative, and neutral ratings of their thoughts were equal to how they viewed
religious and legal statements.


72
Current Studys Relation to Communication Theory
The current study centered around three questions. First, when receivers read
statements about one topic, are thoughts unrelated to the topic elicited and what
conditions stimulate this process? Unrelated thoughts are elicited by subjects. They
responded by listing unrelated thoughts approximately 30% of the time when their
schema is different than the topic. They respond by listing unrelated thoughts
approximately 15% of the time when their schema is related to the topic. There
seems to be one condition which stimulates the process. Idiosyncratic information
is personally related to topic statements. It seems to be a natural extension of
thought for each person. Topic statements trigger the access idiosyncratic of
information.
Secondly, if receivers have thoughts that are unrelated to statements on one
topic, do the thoughts have positive or negative personal value? Unrelated thoughts
with positive or negative value comprised 79% of the responses.
Thirdly, if receivers have positive or negative thoughts that are unrelated to
statements about one topic, do the unrelated thoughts positively or negatively
influence how receivers view topic statements? No data was collected to report.
Based on the results of the current study, there is a necessity to modify the
Elaboration Likelihood Model as it represents cognitive routes to persuasion. The
ELM Indicates only two routes toward persuasion. The first is the central route
where new information is carefully scrutinized. The result is a positive or negative
attitude. The second is the peripheral route where new information is not carefully
scrutinized, and the information, again, is sent through the cognitive process. The
ELM only indicates these two routes. Both routes result in a positive or negative


73



attitude. The proposed modification suggests a third route. It allows for new
information to begin to be carefully scrutinized, then personal information
interacts with it. It combines the central and peripheral routes, yet the new
information may not be sent back through the cognitive process. The result is a
positive or negative attitude toward the new information.
The current study examined communication theory from a cognitive
perspective. The cognitive perspective attempts to examine what personal cognitive
biases a person brings to mind in a communication context. Also, the cognitive
perspective attempts to examine what influences, positive or negative, personal
cognitive biases have on a persons views of a topic. By bringing biased and personal
information to mind, people try to make sense of what they perceive. Approaching
the communicative act from a cognitive view is a research perspective. Instead of
examining elements surrounding communication of the sender, the cognitive
perspective focuses on self-schemas of receivers. The current study has shown that
people maintain a certain bias. When they are faced with information different
from their self-schema, they will think of personal thoughts approximately one-
third of the time. This means that a person may bring a large percentage of
preconceived arguments to a persuasion context. Those arguments may influence
the attitude of a receiver. A speaker not only has to consider what arguments he or
she will use, but must carefully consider what attitudes the audience may have, The
effective persuader must carefully scrutinize his or her arguments, and carefully
analyze the possible attitudes of the audience before he or she speaks.


74
Limitations to the Research
Self-schema subjects were Identified as general schematic groups. Although
attempts were made to ensure clear categorization, the process may have allowed for
unobservable overlaps of religious and legal schemata. The approach to Identify a
religious self-schema and a legal self-schema in subjects was non-laboratory. A
more laboratory approach could have been employed. Sidera used an electronic
method, developed by H. Markus, to categorize religious and legal subjects on the
basis of their self-ratings, when exposed to personality-trait adjectives, regarding
their independence/dependence and subsequently treated reaction times (RT) for
endorsing independent/dependent trait adjectives as a dependent measure.4^
Even though general schematic groups were sought, the schematic groups could
have been more distinct if the sample population was drawn from a law school to
identify a legal self-schema and from a conservative seminary to identify a
religious self-schema.
The personality-trait adjectives selected for representing a legal-minded person
and a religious-minded person could be pretested at a law school and seminary. The
result may produce clearer self-schema adjective distinctions. The religious and
legal in vitro fertilization statements also could be pretested at a seminary and law
school. In the development of the religious and legal statements caution must be
taken to use statements that reflect equal positive, negative, and neutral values. If a
legal statement reflects very strong positive support for a legal position, then a 40
40 Cacioppo, Petty, and Sidera, The Effects of a Salient Self-Schema on the
Evaluation of Proattitudinal Editorials: Top-Down Versus Bottom-UP Message
Processing: 330.




75
corresponding religious statement should reflect very strong support. Evaluating
statements could be done by a pretest population. They could rate religious and legal
statements on a seven point scale.
Other data gathering forms than the ones used were not developed in order for
hypothesis two to be statistically analyzed. The thoughts listed by subjects in the
test were adequately evaluated positively, negatively, or neutrally. Although,
pretest evaluations were unknown.
Study Impact and Suggestions
The population surveyed should be viewed as being a delimitation. As such,
generalizations beyond this sample are speculative.
Over 87% of the subjects listed thoughts unrelated to the topic. Their thoughts
also were evaluative. It may indicate that a larger body of people participate in this
type of cognitive processing. Cacioppo and Petty write that the amount and nature of
issue-relevant elaboration in which people engage to evaluate a message vary with
individual and situational factors.41 Some self-schema individuals by themselves
may be less inclined to participate in issue-relevant elaboration than when in a
group which reflects a similar self-schema. Further studies could measure
individuals views before placing them in group settings with people who share
similar views and people who have differing views. Then, views could be measured
after their placement in opposing settings.
41 Petty and Cacioppo, Communication and Persuasion, p. 6.


76
The subjects who listed thoughts placed evaluative indicators by their related
and unrelated thoughts. If the thoughts were evaluated as neutral, then according to
the ELM those thoughts may be sent through the cognitive process again for further
evaluation. Those thoughts may remain neutral. The thoughts that were evaluated
as positive or negative by each subject may influence how that subject views the
general topic or his or her specific views of the topic. Evaluative thoughts may alter
a schema by rearranging knowledge stored in long-term memory. A schema may be
altered by the acceptance of new information. According to Cacioppo, Petty, and
Sidera:
. . the recipients self-schema may not only serve to organize
information in long-term memory, but it may also serve as a subjective
theory that biases the assimilation of the message arguments [statements] in
such a manner that the schema is maintained or strengthened. Thus, when a
. . message is written to reflect a perspective on an issue congruent with,
rather than irrelevant to, the recipients self-schema, the activation of a
self-schema may guide a filling-in, or strengthening, or arguments
[statements] presented... ,42
Information being cognitively processed for schema alterations or guidance
takes either a central or peripheral route (or a combination of the two) according to
the ELM. When people shift from cognitively processing issue-relevant information
to self-schema information, as reported by the thought listings, the shift was
assumed In the current study. The shift was called a sequential leap. A system for
identifying and/or verifying the sequential leap should be undertaken for
strengthening it as a valid concept for use in further studies. Until then, Dale
42 Cacioppo, Petty, and Sidera, "The Effects of a Salient Self-Schema on the
Evaluation of Proattitudinal Editorials: Top-Down Versus Bottom-Up Message
Processing: 328.


77
Hample seems to appropriately state, We can observe input and output but can only
speculate as to the process which convert one into the other. 43
When measuring a subjects unrelated statement influence on the topic, a pretest
questionnaire could be developed. It should be presented to the sample population. It
could ask each subjects evaluative view (positive, negative, or neutral) of topic
statements to be used in the test. The pretest evaluative views could be compared to
test views to which subjects listed and evaluated thoughts related and unrelated to
the test statements. Hypothesis two would require subjects to participate in the
study at two different times.
It follows, then, that this studys findings might, with modifications in
methodology, be used by other investigators to examine the influence of a self-
schema on topic specific issues. Self-schema studies may well go beyond the
manifestation of related and unrelated thoughts influence on topic specific
statements. As such, future inquires might seek other relationships. These would
include: 1) the numerical amount of related/unrelated thoughts to message
comprehension: 2) positive/negative strength of evaluative thoughts to the positive/
negative, pretest/test evaluative thoughts of topic specific statements: and 3)
individual self-schema thoughts to thoughts arrived at by consensus by a group that
the individual was a part of.
43 Hample, Logic, Conscious, and Unconscious, p.31.


78
Bibliography
Anderson, Norman H. Likableness Ratings of 555 Personality-Trait Words."
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 9 (1968): 272-279.
Cacioppo, John, Petty, Richard, and Sidera, Joseph. The Effects of a
Salient Self-Schema on the Evaluation of Proattitudinal Editorials:
Top-Down Versus Bottom-Up Message Processing. Journal of
Experimental Social Psychology 18 (1982): 324-338.
Eiser, J. Richard. Social Psychology: Attitudes, Cognition, and Social
Behavior. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986.
Eiser, J. Richard, and van der Pligt, Joop. Attitudes and Decisions. London:
Routledge, 1988.
Gagne, Ellen D. The Cognitive Psychology of School Learning. Boston: Little,
Brown and Company, 1985.
Hample, Dale. A Cognitive View of Argument. Journal of the American
Forensic Association 16 (1980): 151-158.
Hample, Dale. Logic, Conscious, and, Unconscious, The Western Journal of
Speech Communication 50 (1986): 24-40.
John Smith, Mary. Contemporary Communication Reasearch Methods.
Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1988.
Marzano, Robert J., Brandt, Ronald S., Hughes, Carolyn Sue, Jones, Beau F.,
Presseisen, Barbara Z., Rankin, Stuart C.t and Suhor, Charles. Thinking
Processes. In Dimensions In Thinking: A Framework for Curriculum and
Instruction, p.p. 32-67. Alexandria: The Association for Supervision and
Curriculum Development, 1988.


79
Petty, Richard and Cacioppo, John. Social Psychological Procedures for
Cognitive Response Assessment: The Thought-Listing Technique. In
Cognitive Assessment, p.p. 309 342. Edited by T.V., Merluzzi, C.R. Glass.
andM. Genest, New York: Guilford Press, 1981.
Petty, Richard, and Cacioppo, John. Communication and Persuasion.
New York: Sprlnger-Verlag, 1986.
Petty, Richard, Ostrom, Thomas, and Brock Timothy. Historical
Foundations of the Cognitive Response Approach to Attitudes and
Persuasion. In Cognitive Responses in Persuasion, p.p. 5-29. Edited
by Richard Petty, Thomas Ostrom, and Timothy Brock. Hillsdale:
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1981.
Sidera, Joseph. Title unknown. M.A. Thesis. (A portion of Josephs thesis,
was obtained from John Cacioppo at Ohio State University and whom
served on Josephs committee, p.p. 14-24 and 36-41.)


APPENDIX 1


80
Please Indicate the degree to which each word describes the personality traits of a
legal-minded person. In the scale, 0=unrelated, l=somewhat unrelated, 2=somewhat
related, 3=highly related. Circle your answer.
1. wise 0 1 2 3 19. persistent 0 1 2 3
2. sociable 0 1 2 3 20. modest 0 1 2 3
3. self-assured 0 1 2 3 21. observant 0 1 2 3
4. dependable 0 1 2 3 22. energetic 0 1 2 3
5. loyal 0 1 2 3 23. calm 0 1 2 3
6. daydreamer 0 1 2 3 24. creative 0 1 2 3
7. talented 0 1 2 3 25. trustful 0 1 2 3
8. efficient 0 1 2 3 26. self-confident 0 1 2 3
9. lonely 0 1 2 3 27. cheerful 0 1 2 3
10. orderly 0 1 2 3 28. thoughtful 0 1 2 3
11. unconventional 0 1 2 3 29. lonesome 0 1 2 3
12. proud 0 1 2 3 30. pleasant 0 1 2 3
13. agreeable 0 1 2 3 31. frank 0 1 2 3
14. warm 0 1 2 3 32. able 0 1 2 3
15. sensible 0 1 2 3 33. capable 0 1 2 3
16. conservative 0 1 2 3 34. friendly. 0 1 2 3
17. emotional 0 1 2 3 35. happy 0 1 2 3
18. attentive 0 1 2 3 36. honest 0 1 2 3


81
37. unpredictable
38. reliable
39. nonconforming.
40. unselfish
41. self-conscious
42. responsible
43. responsible
44. skilled
45. timid
46. confident
47. sentimental
48. patient
49. serious
50. well-mannered
51. amusing
52. alert
53. self-reliant
54. systematic
55. tidy
56. impulsive
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
57. excitable
58. generous
59. forgiving
60. independent
61. competent
62. courteous
63. prompt
64. inquisitive
65. cooperative
66. critical
67. aggressive
68. enthusiastic
69. tolerant
70. helpful
71. clever
72. daring
73. intelligent
74. sincere
75. studious
76. argumentative
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3


77. enterprising 0 1 2 82 3 97. truthful 0 1 2 3
78. witty 0 1 2 3 98. persuasive 0 1 2 3
79. broad-minded 0 1 2 3 99. righteous 0 1 2 3
80. considerate 0 1 2 3 100. outgoing 0 1 2 3
81. materialistic 0 1 2 3 101. humorous 0 1 2 3
82. thrifty 0 1 2 3 102. logical 0 1 2 3
83. practical 0 1 2 3 103. kind 0 1 2 3
84. excited 0 1 2 3 104. silent 0 1 2 3
85. polite 0 1 2 3 105. bashful 0 1 2 3
86. conformist 0 1 2 3 106. trustworthy 0 1 2 3
87. imaginative 0 1 2 3 107. nice 0 1 2 3
88. bold 0 1 2 3 108. earnest 0 1 2 3
89. curious 0 1 2 3 109. obedient 0 1 2 3
90. perfectionist 0 1 2 3 110. careful 0 1 2 3
91. gracious 0 1 2 3 111. relaxed 0 1 2 3
92. understanding 0 1 2 3 112. good 0 1 2 3
93. rebellious 0 1 2 3 113. talkative 0 1 2 3
94. forgetful 0 1 2 3 114. idealistic 0 1 2 3
95. ambitious 0 1 2 3 115. dependent 0 1 2 3
96. quiet 0 1 2 3 116. punctual 0 1 2 3


83
117. moral
118. neat
119. easygoing
120. ethical
121. self-critical
122. shy
1 2 3
12 3
12 3
1 2 3
1 2 3
12 3
0
0
0
0
0
0
123. cautious
0
1
2 3


APPENDIX 2


84
Please Indicate the degree to -which each word describes the personality traits of a
religious-minded person. In the scale, 0=unrelated, l=somewhat unrelated,
2=somewhat related, 3=highly related. Circle your answer.
1. wise 0 1 2 3 19. persistent 0 1 2 3
2. sociable 0 1 2 3 20. modest 0 1 2 3
3. self-assured 0 1 2 3 21. observant 0 1 2 3
4. dependable 0 1 2 3 22. energetic 0 1 2 3
5. loyal 0 1 2 3 23. calm 0 1 2 3
6. daydreamer 0 1 2 3 24. creative 0 1 2 3
7. talented 0 1 2 3 25. trustful 0 1 2 3
8. efficient 0 1 2 3 26. self-confident 0 1 2 3
9. lonely 0 1 2 3 27. cheerful 0 1 2 3
10. orderly 0 1 2 3 28. thoughtful 0 1 2 3
11. unconventional 0 1 2 3 29. lonesome 0 1 2 3
12. proud 0 1 2 3 30. pleasant 0 1 2 3
13. agreeable 0 1 2 3 31. frank 0 1 2 3
14. warm 0 1 2 3 32. able 0 1 2 3
15. sensible 0 1 2 3 33. capable 0 1 2 3
16. conservative 0 1 2 3 34. friendly 0 1 2 3
17. emotional 0 1 2 3 35. happy 0 1 2 3
18. attentive 0 1 2 3 36. honest 0 1 2 3


85
37. unpredictable
38. reliable
39. nonconforming
40. unselfish
41. self-conscious
42. responsible
43. responsible
44. skilled
45. timid
46. confident
47. sentimental
48. patient
49. serious
50. well-mannered
51. amusing
52. alert
53. self-reliant
54. systematic
55. tidy
56. impulsive
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
57. excitable
58. generous
59. forgiving
60. independent
61. competent
62. courteous
63. prompt
64. inquisitive
65. cooperative
66. critical
67. aggressive
68. enthusiastic
69. tolerant
70. helpful
71. clever
72. daring
73. intelligent
74. sincere
75. studious
76. argumentative
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 1 2 3
0 12 3
0 12 3


86
77. enterprising 0 1 2 3 97. truthful 0 1 2 3
78. witty 0 1 2 3 98. persuasive 0 1 2 3
79. broad-minded 0 1 2 3 99. righteous 0 1 2 3
80. considerate 0 1 2 3 100. outgoing 0 1 2 3
81. materialistic 0 1 2 3 101. humorous 0 1 2 3
82. thrifty 0 1 2 3 102. logical 0 1 2 3
83. practical 0 1 2 3 103. kind 0 1 2 3
84. excited 0 1 2 3 104. silent 0 1 2 3
85. polite 0 1 2 3 105. bashful 0 1 2 3
86. conformist 0 1 2 3 106. trustworthy 0 1 2 3
87. imaginative 0 1 2 3 107. nice 0 1 2 3
88. bold 0 1 2 3 108. earnest 0 1 2 3
89. curious 0 1 2 3 109. obedient 0 1 2 3
90. perfectionist 0 1 2 3 110. careful 0 1 2 3
91. gracious 0 1 2 3 111. relaxed 0 1 2 3
92. understanding 0 1 2 3 112. good 0 1 2 3
93. rebellious 0 1 2 3 113. talkative 0 1 2 3
94. forgetful 0 1 2 3 114. idealistic 0 1 2 3
95. ambitious 0 1 2 3 115. dependent 0 1 2 3
96. quiet 0 1 2 3 116. punctual 0 1 2 3
117. moral 0 1 2 3


87
118. neat
119. easygoing
120. ethical
121. self-critical
122. shy
123. cautious
12 3
12 3
1 2 3
12 3
1 2 3
12 3
0
0
0
0
0
0


APPENDIX 3


88
PERSONALITY TRAIT SURVEY
This survey is a study of personality traits. By participating, you make an
important contribution to a research project designed to advance the scholarly
understanding of human thought. Your help is especially appreciated because
participation is essential to the completion of the project.
Instructions
The following list contains 39 adjectives describing personality traits. Beside each
adjective the words me, not-me" are listed. Please circle the word next to the
adjective that best describes the way you think about yourself based on your first
impression. If you take extra time to consider a descriptive adjective, then circle
not-me. Be careful to circle me" or not-me by every word. Take care to circle
only one option for each adjective.
tolerant me not-me confident me not-me
calm me not-me Idealistic me not-me
pleasant me not-me shy me not-me
truthful me not-me alert me not-me
sincere me not-me persistent me not-me
obedient me not-me intelligent me not-me
daydreamer me not-me righteous me not-me
conservative me not-me careful me not-me
unselfish me not-me wise me not-me
loyal me not-me critical me not-me
skilled me not-me systematic me not-me
enthusiastic me not-me studious me not-me
observant me not-me self-reliant me not-me
orderly me not-me efficient me not-me
ambitious me not-me aggressive me not-me
serious me not-me responsible me not-me
capable me not-me forgetful me not-me
good me not-me moral me not-me
logical me not-me competent me not-me
ethical me not-me